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More than Half of MCPS Graduates Have AP Success

February 20, 2013
More than half of the graduates from the MCPS Class of 2012 earned a college-ready score on at least one Advanced Placement (AP) exam, far outperforming their peers across the state and the nation.

In 2012, 52.3 percent of MCPS graduates earned a college-ready score of 3 or higher on at least one AP exam, an increase of nearly three percentage points from 2011 and significantly higher than the state of Maryland (29.6 percent) and the nation (19.5 percent).

More than two-thirds of 2012 MCPS graduates (67.3 percent) took at least one AP exam while in high school, a district record and also significantly higher than the state (48.2 percent) and the nation (32.4 percent).

“MCPS students continue to perform extremely well on Advanced Placement exams, demonstrating their desire to be challenged and their readiness for college-level work,” said Board of Education President Christopher S. Barclay. “We should celebrate these tremendous results, while strengthening our commitment to making sure all students have access to rigorous classes and are well-prepared for success.”

At 29.6 percent, Maryland was the state with the highest percentage of graduates earning a college-ready score on an AP exam, according to the College Board’s
AP Report to the Nation, released Wednesday (February 20, 2013).

MCPS played a significant role in Maryland’s top AP ranking. MCPS had less than 19 percent of Maryland’s total graduates in 2012, but accounted for 26 percent of those who took at least one AP exam and nearly one-third (33.1 percent) of those who earned a college-ready score on at least one exam.

Students from all racial and ethnic subgroups in the MCPS Class of 2012 showed improvement in AP performance. The percentage of Hispanic students earning a college-ready score on at least one AP exam was 38.1 percent, up nearly one percentage point from 2011. For African American MCPS graduates, the percentage was 23.3 percent, up one percentage point from 2011.

“I’m proud of the continued growth we are seeing in AP access and success for all students,” said Superintendent Joshua P. Starr. “I am grateful for the hard work that our students and staff have put in to make MCPS a national leader in this and so many other areas.”

AP participation and performance have grown dramatically in MCPS over the past decade, and some of the largest gains have been seen among African American and Hispanic students. Over the past 10 years, the percentage of MCPS African American graduates taking at least one AP exam has more than doubled to 43 percent in 2012. At the same time, the percentage of MCPS African American graduates scoring a 3 or higher on at least one exam has also more than doubled to 23.3 percent.  In Maryland, 29.5 percent of African American graduates took at least one AP exam and 9.4 percent scored a three or higher on an exam. Nationally, 20.6 percent of African American graduates took at least one AP exam and 5.9 percent scored a three of higher on an exam.

Hispanic students in MCPS have also seen tremendous growth in AP participation and performance. The percentage of Hispanic MCPS graduates taking at least one AP exam has more than doubled to 54.2 percent in 2012. At the same time, the percentage scoring a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam has doubled to 38.1 percent. In Maryland, 44 percent of Hispanic graduates took at least one AP exam and 27.7 percent scored a three or higher on an exam. Nationally, 31.4 percent of Hispanic graduates took at least one AP exam and 16.9 percent earned a score of three or higher on an exam.

Overall, MCPS African American and Hispanic graduates outperformed all students across the nation on AP participation and performance. Dr. Starr said the district should be proud of the growth it has seen in AP, but that there is much more work left to be done.

“All of the data is moving in the right direction, but we must redouble our efforts to narrow gaps among students in participation and performance,” he said. “This work must start in our earliest grades and continue throughout a child’s education.”

Scoring a 3 or higher on at least one Advanced Placement exam or a 4 or higher on an International Baccalaureate (IB) exam is one of the MCPS Seven Keys to College and Career Readiness--a series of benchmarks that indicates a student is on the path to readiness for postsecondary education and the workplace. In 2012, more than 53 percent of MCPS seniors met this key, up more than 3 points from 2011. MCPS has eight high schools that offer IB programs.

SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS

-  In 2012, there were 16 MCPS high schools that saw an increase in the percentage of graduates taking at least one AP exam, compared with 2011. The largest increases were at Wheaton (up 12.1 percentage points), Northwest (7.1), Quince Orchard (7.0), James Hubert Blake (6.9), Poolesville and Rockville (both up 5.6 points) high schools
-  In 2012, there were 18 MCPS high schools that saw an increase in the percentage of graduates scoring a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam, compared with 2011. The largest increases were at Quince Orchard (up 12.4 percentage points), Thomas S. Wootton (8.2), Northwest (7.9), Rockville (7.6) and Gaithersburg (7.1) high schools
-  There were four MCPS high schools that saw an increase in both the AP exam participation and performance of African American and Hispanic students—Gaithersburg, Col. Zadok Magruder, Rockville and Wheaton high schools.
-  All 25 MCPS high schools outperformed the nation in the percentage of graduates scoring a 3 or higher on at least one exam, and 22 outperformed the state of Maryland.
-  The high schools with the greatest percentage of 2012 graduates earning a score of 3 or higher on at least one exam were Winston Churchill (82 percent), Thomas S. Wootton (81.5 percent), Walt Whitman (80.8 percent), Poolesville (78 percent) and Walter Johnson (71.7 percent).


MCPS Report on AP Participation and Performance

AP Report to the Nation (College Board)

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