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MCPS Class of 2006 Sets New Records on AP Exams

February 6, 2007
MCPS Seniors Outperform Every State in the Nation on Advanced Placement Exams

Class of 2006 Sets New MCPS Records; Propels Maryland to Number 2 State Ranking Nationally

African American and Hispanic Seniors’ Performance Exceeds National Average for All Students

Forty-five percent of graduating seniors in Montgomery County scored a 3 or higher on at least one Advanced Placement (AP) exam during their high school careers which is triple the national average of 15 percent and double the Maryland average of 22 percent, according to the new College Board Advanced Placement Report to the Nation released today.

The outstanding performance of the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Class of 2006 broke the previous class’ records and capped a five-year trend of consistently higher performance on AP exams. In fact, the success of the 2006 graduates propelled the state of Maryland to the number two ranking in the nation in the College Board’s annual report. More than one-third of Maryland’s successful AP exam takers come from Montgomery County, the College Board data show. Without the MCPS graduates included, Maryland would fall out of the top 10 in the nation.

In terms of participation on AP exams, the MCPS Class of 2006 far outdistanced the national and state averages as well. In Montgomery County, 56 percent of the graduates took at least one AP exam in high school compared to the Maryland average of 34 percent and the national average of 24 percent.

“It is clear that more MCPS graduates than ever before are accepting the AP challenge and succeeding in these rigorous courses. Their success is a not only a testament to the students’ hard work, but also to the outstanding job our staff is doing,” said Superintendent Jerry D. Weast. “The great news is that we are seeing more students from more diverse backgrounds excel in the AP program.”

Impressively, the performance of African American and Hispanic graduating seniors in MCPS exceeds the national average for all students. While 15 percent of exam takers nationwide scored a 3 or better on at least one exam, 16 percent of African American students and 33 percent of Hispanic students in MCPS earned a 3 or higher.

However, there still remains a significant participation and performance gap between African American and Hispanic students and their white and Asian American peers. More than 54 percent of white and Asian American graduates in MCPS earned a 3 or better on at least one exam.

The number and percentage of African American students (27 percent) and Hispanic students (42 percent) taking AP exams has increased significantly over the last five years and exceeds the national average of 24 percent for all students. However, this still lags behind the participation of their white (65 percent) and Asian American counterparts (75 percent) in MCPS.

Over the last five years, MCPS has increased the number of AP exam participants by 43 percent while maintaining a mean score of 3.1 for all exam takers. This is a noteworthy accomplishment because national trends show that as participation increases, performance tends to decrease. Significantly, more than half of exam takers in every student group in the Class of 2006 earned a high enough score to receive college credit.

Another noteworthy accomplishment is that the Class of 2006 had the highest percentage and number of students to ever earn a 3, 4, or 5. In fact, nearly one out of five graduates received at least one score of 5, the highest score possible. In addition, 46 percent of exam takers met or exceeded the requirements for an AP Scholar award, which means they scored a 3 or higher on three or more exams.

Data charts detailing the five-year AP performance and participation trends in MCPS and the comparison data for the state and nation are at the links below.

The complete Advanced Placement Exam Participation and Performance Report for the MCPS Classes of 2002 to 2006 is on the MCPS web site at www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/sharedaccountability/research

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