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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Contact:JC Considine 781-338-3112

Massachusetts AP Participation and Success Rates Continue to Rise

More Massachusetts public high school graduates are succeeding on AP exams today than took them a decade ago

MALDEN - The Patrick Administration's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced today that more Massachusetts public high school students are taking and succeeding on rigorous Advanced Placement (AP) exams. According to results from the College Board, 27.9 percent of Massachusetts public high school graduates in last year's class of 2013 scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam during high school, up from 25.5 percent two years ago and 16.8 percent a decade ago. A score of 3 or higher on an AP exam is predictive of college success and college graduation.

"Today's results demonstrate steady progress in boosting educational performance and I applaud our hard working students and teachers." said Governor Deval Patrick. "In Massachusetts we know that investing time, money and new ideas in education works, and is the wisest investment government can make."

"Congratulations to the educators who are preparing our students for these rigorous courses and also to the students across Massachusetts who are working hard in these college-level courses and succeeding in them," said Education Secretary Matthew Malone. "AP courses help students develop critical thinking – and they are setting these students up for greater success in college and beyond."

The number of Massachusetts graduates in the class of 2013 who succeeded on an AP exam (17,616) surpasses the number who even took an AP during high school a decade ago (13,051). Over the past decade, the number of Massachusetts public high school graduates who took at least one AP exam during high school has increased by 89 percent (from 13,051 in the class of 2003 to 24,610 in the class of 2013) and the number scoring a 3 or higher has increased by 87 percent (from 9,419 in the class of 2003 to 17,616 in the class of 2013).

"We are upgrading the course of study in classrooms across the Commonwealth to ensure that all students are on a pathway to high school graduation and success beyond." said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "The great strides our schools are making in increasing student participation and performance in rigorous AP coursework is a sign of our progress."

The Patrick Administration has been working on a number of fronts to close achievement gaps and ensure that students have the skills necessary to succeed beyond high school and compete in our increasingly global economy. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is implementing a set of recommendations proposed by a task force of the state's leading educators, employers, and academic labor experts to ensure that every student graduates from high school ready to pursue the next steps on the path to a successful career or post-secondary education.

Schools across the Commonwealth are also implementing the state's new college and career ready standards in English language arts and Mathematics, which incorporate the Common Core State Standards. The Department is developing online resources tools that educators can use in the classroom. Massachusetts is also collaborating with 17 other states to build a next generation assessment system, called PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), to provide a better signal of students' readiness for the next grade level and, in high school, readiness for college and careers.

Other Massachusetts results include:

  • The number of graduates leaving high school having taken an AP exam has increased from 13,051 in 2003, to 18,326 in 2008, to 22,808 in 2012, to 24,610 in 2013.
  • A total of 17,616 Massachusetts graduates in the class of 2013 scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam during high school, up from 16,251 students two years ago (class of 2012) and 9,419 students a decade ago (class of 2003).
  • 27.9 percent of Massachusetts' graduates in the class of 2013 scored a 3 or higher on an AP exam during high school, trailing only three other states – Maryland (29.6 percent), Connecticut (28.8 percent), and Virginia (28.3 percent).
  • The performance of minority and low income students has continued to improve over the past decade. The number of African American graduates taking an AP exam during high school has increased from 423 in the class of 2003 to 1,393 in the class of 2013, and the number scoring a 3 or higher on an AP exam has increased from 147 to 555. For Hispanic graduates over the past decade, the number taking an AP exam has increased from 510 to 1,932 and the number scoring a 3 or higher has increased from 380 to 1,054. For low income graduates over the past decade, the number taking an AP exam increased from 957 to 4,675 and the number scoring 3 or higher increased from 485 to 2,367.
  • 33 Massachusetts public school districts were named to the College Board's 2013 AP District Honor Roll for expanding access to AP curriculum and maintaining or improving the percent of students scoring 3 or higher. A total of 477 districts across the U.S. and Canada were selected for the 4th annual AP Honor Roll. For more information, go to http://www.doe.mass.edu/news/news.aspx?id=7842.
  • The ten most popular AP exams taken by Massachusetts public school students during high school were: English Literature and Composition, United States History, English Language and Composition, Calculus AB, Biology, Psychology, Statistics, Chemistry, Spanish Language, and United States Government and Politics.

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 11, 2014
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