Scores of African American Students Surpass National Average for All Students
More than One-third of Top Scores in Maryland Earned by MCPS Students
The Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Class of 2007 set new Advanced Placement examination (AP exam) participation and performance records and capped an eight-year trend of consistently higher performance for graduates from all student groups. Sixty percent of 2007 MCPS graduates took at least one AP exam, and 46 percent of graduates earned at least one AP score of 3 or higher.
Nationwide comparisions in AP participation and achievement and ranking of performance by state were recently released by The College Board in the 2007 College Board Advanced Placement Report to the Nation.
MCPS students account for 36 percent of the AP exams taken in Maryland earning the mastery score of 3 or higher, propelling Maryland to the number-two spot in the nation. Without MCPS graduates included, Maryland’s ranking would drop from number two to number 13 in the nation.
Particularly noteworthy is that African American males in MCPS took AP exams at a higher rate than the national average for all students and surpassed the national average for performance for all students as well. African American graduates in MCPS overall had a success rate on these rigorous tests five times greater than African American students across the nation.
"AP has been the cornerstone of the efforts to improve our high schools and ensure that our graduates are college ready. The fact that six out of 10 of our graduates are taking AP exams is outstanding and means that these students are going to be ready for the rigors of the college classroom when they leave here," said Superintendent Jerry D. Weast. "We are probably one of the only school systems in America where our African American and Hispanic students outscore the national average for all students. The fact that African American male graduates outscore the nation is something we are especially proud of as well and provides a foundation for even greater success in future years."
The exceptional growth in performance of African American students, and African American males in particular, in the Class of 2007 follows another important milestone MCPS reached last month regarding the performance of all African American high school students in AP. MCPS is one of only two districts in America with more than 1,000 African American students’ tests earning a score high enough to receive college credit in 2007. Only New York City, which has nine times more African American students than MCPS, reached the 1,000 passed exams threshold.
In the Class of 2007, the number of African American males earning a 3 or better on at least one AP exam is more than three times the number of African American male graduates in the Class of 2000 performing at this level. The increase in performance has occurred despite a rise in the overall poverty status of the system. The poverty rate among African American male graduates rose from 50 percent to 55 percent over the last seven years. Additional information about the performance of African American students is detailed below.
It is also important to note that in addition to the increase in AP performance, the graduation rate for African American males in MCPS was hailed by the Schott Foundation as the second highest in the nation for school systems with more than 10,000 African American students.
Overall, MCPS graduates as a class far exceeded the participation and performance of their peers in Maryland and the nation.
Sixty percent of graduates in the MCPS Class of 2007 took at least one AP exam during high school, compared with 35.3 percent and 24.9 percent, respectively, of public school graduates in Maryland and the nation.
Forty-six percent of MCPS graduates earned at least one AP score of 3 or higher, a rate that was more than twice the rate for public school graduates in Maryland (22.4 percent) and more than three times the rate for public school graduates in the nation (15.2 percent).
Between 2000 and 2007, the percentage of MCPS graduates who took at least one AP exam increased 23.4 percentage points, compared with increases of 15.1 and 9.0 percentage points for Maryland and the nation, respectively. The percentage of MCPS graduates who earned at least one AP exam score of 3 or higher increased 15.3 percentage points between 2000 and 2007, compared with increases of 8.3 and 5.0 percentage points for Maryland and the nation, respectively.
African American and Hispanic Performance
MCPS has focused intensively on raising the performance of all students and closing the achievement gap. To that end, the growth in AP exam participation among African American and Hispanic students, two groups that historically have been underrepresented in AP classrooms, has been impressive. Between 2000 and 2007, the percentages of MCPS African American and Hispanic graduates who took at least one AP exam increased by 21.8 and 28.6 points, respectively, rates that were about twice those observed among African American and Hispanic students in Maryland and about three times those observed nationally.Among African American males alone, the percentage of MCPS graduates taking an exam has nearly tripled from 9.9 percent to 29 percent.
The increases in AP exam performance among African American and Hispanic students in MCPS between 2000 and 2007 is striking because the percentage earning passing scores doubled for both groups. Notably, in 2007, both student groups were above the national average of 15.2 percent for all students.
MCPS African American graduates’ AP exam scores significantly outdistance the scores of their peer graduates in Maryland and the nation (Table 3). In 2007, the percentage of MCPS African American graduates who took one or more AP exams during high school (34.2) was more than twice the rate for African American students in Maryland (17.2 percent) or the nation (13.2 percent). In 2007, the percentage of MCPS African American graduates who earned at least one AP exam score of 3 or higher (18.2) was more than three times the rate for African American students in Maryland (5.4 percent) and more than five times the rate for African American students nationwide (3.6 percent).
The full College Board Advanced Placement Report to the Nation for 2007 can be found at the link below.