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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Contact:JC Considine 781-338-3112

Participation and Performance on College-Level AP Exams Continues to Rise among Massachusetts Public High School Students

46 MA Public School Districts Named to 2012 AP District Honor Roll; Chelsea Public Schools Named AP District of the Year

MALDEN - The Patrick-Murray Administration today announced that more Massachusetts public high school students are taking and succeeding in rigorous, college-level Advanced Placement (AP) exams.

Over the last decade, the number of Massachusetts public high school graduates taking an AP exam has increased by 89 percent and the number scoring a 3 or higher – a solid predictive indicator of college readiness – on at least one exam has increased by 85 percent.

According to results released by the College Board, 27.9 percent of Massachusetts graduates in the class of 2012 (16,251 out of 58,316 students) scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam during high school, an increase of 2.4 percentage points from the class of 2011, 8.2 percentage points from the class of 2007, and 12 percentage points from the class of 2002. Massachusetts students in the class of 2012 also outperformed the national average (19.5% of graduates scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam) and trailed only two states, Maryland (29.6%) and New York (28%).

"These results demonstrate our progress in boosting student participation and performance on the AP exams," said Governor Deval Patrick. "Now we must continue to invest in education to help even more students enroll in these rigorous college preparatory courses and reach higher levels of attainment."

Statewide, 39.1 percent of Massachusetts public high school students in the class of 2012 took at least one AP exam in high school, up from 36.4 percent last year, 27.3 percent in 2007, and 21.9 percent in 2002.

"Our schools continue to make great progress in expanding student access to, and success in, rigorous AP coursework that signals readiness for college-level work," said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "The Commonwealth's new English language arts and Mathematics curriculum frameworks incorporate college and career ready standards that are strengthening curriculum and instruction in our classrooms to ensure that all students are ready for success beyond high school."

"It is great to see that year after year, more and more students are taking these valuable AP exams and are earning high scores," said Education Secretary Matthew Malone. "Continued focus must now be put on opening up every opportunity for higher education and future employment to all of the Commonwealth's students, by making college more affordable and accessible for our high school students and allowing community colleges to expand their efforts to provide students with the knowledge and skill training needed to succeed in the workplace."

The performance of the major student groups in Massachusetts also continues to improve as participation rises. Of those students who took at least one AP exam during high school, the percent of students in the class of 2012 scoring a 3 or higher on at least one exam was: 38.8 percent for African American students (466 students, up from 359 students in 2011 and 152 students in 2002); 55.2 percent for Hispanic/Latino students (929 students, up from 807 students in 2011 and 311 students in 2002); 77.3 percent of Asian students (1,712 students, up from 1,499 students in 2011 and 657 students in 2002); 75.2 percent of white students (12,309 students, up from 11,597 students in 2011 and 7,107 students in 2002); and 50.5 percent of low income students (2,104 students, up from 1,684 students in 2011 and 485 students in 2003, the first year that data was available for low income test takers).

Other Massachusetts results include:

  • The number of graduates leaving high school having taken an AP exam has increased from 12,084 in 2002, to 17,036 in 2007, to 21,605 in 2011, to 22,808 in 2012.
  • The number of graduates in the class of 2012 who took at least one AP exam during high school by student group was: 1,200 African American students (up from 1,154 students in 2011 and 351 students in 2002); 1,684 Hispanic/Latino students (up from 1,544 students in 2011 and 417 students in 2002); 2,214 Asian students (up from 1,972 students in 2011 and 952 students in 2002); 16,358 white students (up from 15,555 students in 2011 and 9,601 students in 2002); and 4,163 low income students (up from 3,712 students in 2011 and 957 students in 2003, the first year that data was available for low income test takers).
  • 16,251 students (27.9%) in the class of 2012 scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam during high school, an increase from the classes of 2011 (15,129 students, 25.5%), 2007 (12,307 students, 19.7%), and 2002 (8,773 students, 15.9%).
  • 69.3 percent of all AP exams taken by Massachusetts public high school students in the class of 2012 received scores of 3 or higher, compared to the national average of 56.8 percent.
  • 46 Massachusetts public school districts were named to the College Board's 2012 AP District Honor Roll for expanding access to Advanced Placement curriculum and maintaining or improving the percent of students scoring 3 or higher. More school districts from Massachusetts earned a spot on the honor roll than any other state in the nation. A total of 539 districts across the U.S. and Canada were selected for the 3rd annual AP Honor Roll. For more information, go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/news/news.aspx?id=7117.
  • Chelsea Public Schools was named an Advanced Placement Equity and Excellence District of the Year for being the nation's leader, among small school districts, in expanding access to AP classes and simultaneously improving AP Exam performance.
  • The ten most popular AP exams taken by Massachusetts public high school seniors during high school were: U.S. History, English Literature and Composition, Calculus AB, English Language and Composition, Biology, Psychology, Statistics, Chemistry, Spanish Language, and European History.

AP is a rigorous academic program that offers more than 30 courses in a wide range of subjects and college-level assessments developed and scored by college and university faculty members and experienced AP teachers. According to the College Board, a score of 3 or higher on an AP exam represents the score point that is predictive of college success and college graduation.



Last Updated: February 20, 2013
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