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Advanced Placement Records Set in 2007

December 3, 2007
Students in Montgomery County Public Schools Set Advanced Placement Records in 2007

African American and Hispanic Students Post Dramatic Gains

Students in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) set new records in 2007 for the number of Advanced Placement (AP) examinations taken and the number of exams that earned a 3 or higher. Importantly, students of all races and ethnicities set school system records for the number of AP exams that earned scores of 3 or higher—and substantially outscored their peers in Maryland and the nation.

These results are the latest example of a five-year trend in increased participation in AP exams by MCPS students while demonstrating a steady level of success. Since 2003, there has been an increase of 43 percent in the number of AP exams taken. During the same period, the number of AP exams earning a 3 or higher (the grade at which college credit is often given) has increased 39 percent.

“Since 1999, we’ve focused intensively on providing our students with more opportunities to take and succeed in challenging Advanced Placement courses, and each year more and more students are doing just that,” said Superintendent Jerry D. Weast. “We are seeing exponential growth in the number of students of all races and ethnicities who take the rigorous AP classes and earn exam scores high enough to qualify for college credit.

“Especially impressive is the growth in the number of African American students who are successful in AP courses. We have less than half of 1 percent of the African American students in the nation, yet our African American students account for more than 3 percent of all successful AP exams taken in the nation,” Weast added.

Trend data show that the level of successful participation has increased dramatically among African American and Hispanic students. Since 1999, the number of AP exams taken by African American students has increased 6.5 times, from 322 to 2,093. The increase in the number of exams earning a 3 or higher was 4.8 times, from 221 to 1,092. The increase in the number of AP exams taken by Hispanic students is 7.8 times, from 268 to 2,104 exams. The number of exams earning a 3 or higher increased 5.5 times, from 224 to 1,238.

“These positive trends in AP participation and performance provide evidence of the effectiveness of our efforts to prepare all students for college-level work,” said Board of Education President Nancy Navarro. “We must continue to open these doors of opportunity to all of our students and provide the support they need to succeed at the highest levels.”

Highlights of Advanced Placement Performance in 2007

Increased participation and performance

o MCPS students took 24,208 Advanced Placement (AP) exams in 2007, more than in any previous year.

o The number of AP exams taken by MCPS students in 2007 was 8 percent greater than in 2006 and 43 percent greater than in 2003.

State and national comparisons

o MCPS students accounted for 33.9 and 1.1 percent, respectively, of all AP exams taken in 2007 by public school students in Maryland and the nation.

o The 17,849 AP exam scores of 3 or higher earned by MCPS students accounted for 39.5 and 1.5 percent, respectively, of AP exam scores of 3 or higher earned by public school students in Maryland and the nation.

o The percentage of AP exams taken by MCPS students earning scores of 3 or higher (73.7) is 10.6 points greater than the percentage for public school students in Maryland (63.1) and 16.5 points greater than the percentage for public school students in the nation (57.2).

Gains among student groups

o African American students in MCPS earned 1,062 scores of 3 or higher, accounting for 39.4 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively, of all AP exam scores of 3 or higher earned by African American public school students in Maryland and the nation.

o One out of two African American exams earned a 3 or higher in Montgomery County, compared with only one out of four in the nation.

o Last year, MCPS was second only to New York in the number of African American students who scored a 3 or higher on at least one exam.

o In 1999, African American students in MCPS accounted for 1.7 percent of the nation’s successful exams taken and 30.3 percent of Maryland’s.

o Hispanic students earned 1,238 AP exam scores of 3 or higher, accounting for 34.4 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively, of all AP exam scores of 3 or higher earned by Hispanic public school students in Maryland and the nation.

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