Scores of African American and Hispanic Students Surpass National Average for All Students
Paint Branch High School Leads Nation in African American Performance in AP World History
ROCKVILLE, MD—The Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Class of 2008 set new Advanced Placement examination (AP exam) participation and performance records and capped a nine-year trend of higher performance for graduates from all student demographic groups. In addition, Paint Branch High School received national attention for the performance of African American students on the AP World History exam.
In 2008, 61.5 percent of MCPS graduates took at least one AP exam, compared with 25 percent nationally and 37.2 percent in Maryland. More than 46 percent of the Class of 2008 scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam while in high school—more than triple the national average of 15.2 percent and double the state average. A score of 3 or higher is generally recognized as eligible for college credit.
Nationwide comparisons in AP participation and achievement and ranking of performance by state were released today by The College Board in the Fifth Annual Advanced Placement Report to the Nation. For the first time, Maryland was the state with the highest percentage of graduates who earned one or more AP exam scores of 3 or higher. MCPS graduates had a substantial effect on this ranking. Without their contribution, Maryland would slip from 1st to 10th place.
Systemwide improvements in AP course and exam participation by traditionally underserved minority student groups are exemplified by the notable achievement of Paint Branch High School. In its report, The College Board recognizes Paint Branch High School for increasing access to AP, particularly among African American students. The Paint Branch High School Class of 2008 led the nation in the percentage of African American graduates who earned a 3 or higher in the AP World History exam. Paint Branch has increased the percentage of all students taking at least one AP exam from 30.2 percent in 2000 to 58.1 percent in 2008. The percentage increase of students at the school earning a 3 or more on an AP exam rose from 24.9 percent to 40.5 percent in the same time period.
“MCPS has focused intensively on raising the performance of all students and closing the achievement gap,” said Board of Education President Shirley Brandman. “While recognizing
that we have a way to go, I feel we are on the right pathway, as evidenced by the accomplishments of Paint Branch High School and all of our high schools.”
“Our goal—plain and simple—is to get our graduates ready to succeed in college, and getting there depends on taking rigorous courses, such as AP, in high school,” said Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools. “It’s phenomenal to see that so many of our students are participating in these classes and excelling in them, as evidenced by today’s record-setting results by the MCPS Class of 2008.”
AP exam performance among African American graduates in the Class of 2008 is noteworthy districtwide as well as at Paint Branch High School. African American graduates in the MCPS Class of 2008 were nearly three times more likely to take an AP exam than African American graduates nationwide. The percentage of African American graduates in the MCPS Class of 2008 who earned at least one AP exam score of 3 or higher was more than three times the rate for African American graduates in Maryland and more than five times the rate for African American graduates nationwide. The percentage of African American and Hispanic graduates in the MCPS Class of 2008 with at least one AP score of 3 or higher was above the national average of 15.2 percent for all graduates.
African American students taking one or more AP exams increased from 12.4 percent in 2000 to 37.6 percent in 2008, and the percentage of African American students scoring a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam increased from 9.1 percent to 19.6 percent.
"I've got great kids here and a great staff," said Jeanette Dixon, principal of Paint Branch High School. "They work very hard and want to do well. I'm very proud of that, and of the deserving recognition they are receiving in this AP national report."
Overall, MCPS 2008 graduates as a class far exceeded the participation and performance of their peers in Maryland and the nation (Table 1):
- In the MCPS Class of 2008, 61.5 percent of students took at least one AP exam during high school, compared with 37.2 percent and 25 percent, respectively, of public school graduates in Maryland and the nation.
- In the MCPS Class of 2008, 46.4 percent of graduates earned at least one AP score of 3 or higher, a rate that was nearly twice the rate for public school graduates in Maryland (23.4 percent) and more than three times the rate for public school graduates in the nation (15.2 percent)
Between 2000 and 2008, the percentage of MCPS graduates who took at least one AP exam increased 24.9 percentage points, compared with increases of 17.0 and 9.1 percentage points for Maryland and the nation, respectively (Table 2). The percentage of MCPS graduates who earned at least one AP exam score of 3 or higher increased 15.7 percentage points between 2000 and 2008, compared with increases of 9.3 and 5.0 percentage points for Maryland and the nation, respectively.
Read the full College Board Fifth Annual AP Report to the Nation