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Students Set New Advanced Placement Records

December 8, 2008
African American and Hispanic Students Post Steady Gains

Students in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) set new records in 2008 for the number of Advanced Placement (AP) examinations taken and the number of exams that earned a 3 or higher. Importantly, students 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 six-year trend in increased participation in AP exams and a steady level of success among MCPS students. Since 2003, there has been an increase of 53 percent in the number of AP exams taken. During the same period, the number of AP exams earning a 3 or higher has increased 43 percent.

“While we celebrate the continuing growth of participation and achievement in Advanced Placement courses among our students, we must continue our efforts to provide an environment that will encourage even more African American and Hispanic students to participate and succeed in these curricular opportunities,” said Board of Education President Nancy Navarro.

Trend data show that the level of successful participation has increased substantially among African American and Hispanic students. Since 1999, the number of AP exams taken by African American students has increased 7.8 times, from 322 to 2,510. The increase in the number of exams earning a 3 or higher was 5.2 times, from 221 to 1,152. The increase in the number of AP exams taken by Hispanic students is 8.9 times, from 268 to 2,379 exams. The number of exams earning a 3 or higher increased 6 times, from 224 to 1,336.

“Rigorous and challenging courses must be available to all students,” said Superintendent Jerry D. Weast. “It is our job to provide the preparation and support that will allow them to succeed. I am proud that these efforts have resulted in a steady growth in the number of students of all races and ethnicities who are earning AP scores that many institutions of higher learning accept for college credit.”


Highlights of Advanced Placement Performance in 2008

Increased participation and performance

25,921 Advanced Placement (AP) exams were taken in 2008, more than in any previous year.

The number of AP exams taken by MCPS students in 2008 grew by 7 percent from the previous year and is 53 percent greater than in 2003.

State and national comparisons

MCPS students accounted for 33 and 1.1 percent, respectively, of all AP exams taken in 2008 by public school students in Maryland and the nation.

The 18,306 AP exam scores of 3 or higher earned by MCPS students accounted for 38.7 and 1.4 percent, respectively, of AP exam scores of 3 or higher earned by public school students in Maryland and the nation.

Percentage of AP exams taken by MCPS students earning scores of 3 or higher (70.6) is 10.3 points greater than the percentage for public school students in Maryland (60.3) and 15 points greater than the percentage for public school students in the nation (55.6).

Gains among student groups

African American students earned 1,152 scores of 3 or higher, accounting for 37.4 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively, of all AP exam scores of 3 or higher earned by African American public school students in Maryland and the nation. In 2008, MCPS African American students accounted for only 9.8 percent of all African American students in Maryland public schools.

Hispanic students earned 1,336 AP exam scores of 3 or higher, accounting for 31.9 percent and 1.1 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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