Note: The College Board released the AP Report to the Nation today (February 10). We prepared this report to give the public a look at how MCPS' graduating class of 2009 performed on AP exams and how our students compare to the state and the nation.
Nearly two-thirds of the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Class of 2009 took one or more Advanced Placement (AP) exams while in high school—an accomplishment that helped the state of Maryland, once again, be the nation’s leader in AP participation and performance.
Among MCPS’ 2009 graduates, 64.4 percent took at least one AP test, significantly higher than the state of Maryland (40 percent) and more than double the nation (26.5 percent), according to a report released by The College Board on Wednesday.
More significantly, nearly half of 2009 MCPS graduates (48.7 percent) scored a 3 or higher on at least one test—almost double the Maryland pass rate (24.8 percent) and more than triple the rate of the nation (15.9 percent), according to the AP Report to the Nation.
“Today’s report clearly demonstrates that our efforts to give all students access to rigorous classes is paying off,” said Patricia O’Neill, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education. “A majority of our students are challenging themselves with AP classes and are having an outstanding rate of success.”
Superintendent Jerry D. Weast said that passing an AP exam is one of the 7 Keys to College Readiness, and that college completion data makes the importance of that step very clear. Data from the graduating classes of 2001–2003 shows that a student who passed an AP exam is three times more likely to earn a college degree than one who did not.
“Nearly 90 percent of our students enroll in college, so it is important that we make sure they are ready for the work they will face,” Dr. Weast said. “Taking an AP class and passing an AP exam is an important step on the path to a college degree and a more successful future for our students.”
MCPS African American, Hispanic Students Outperform the Nation
African American and Hispanic graduates from MCPS schools performed far better on AP exams than their peers across the state and the nation. In fact, African American and Hispanic MCPS graduates outperformed all graduates across the nation.
Forty-one (41) percent of MCPS’ African American graduates took one or more AP tests in high school, much higher than all graduates across the nation (26.5 percent). The rate of MCPS African American graduates scoring a 3 or higher on at least one exam was 20.9 percent, also higher than the national average for all students (15.9 percent).
It was a similar story for Hispanic graduates in MCPS. More than half of MCPS’ Hispanic graduates (51.4 percent) took one or more AP exams and more than a third (35.1 percent) scored a 3 or higher on at least one exam.
"We continue to work toward a day when race and ethnicity are no longer predictors of academic success," said Dr. Weast. "The AP results show that we are making progress, but there is still work left to be done."
Maryland #1, MCPS a Big Part
The College Board ranked Maryland as the state with the highest percentage of 2009 graduates—24.8 percent—who scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam. "The people of Maryland should be very proud of this high ranking, and the students of Montgomery County should be very proud for the large role they played in it," Dr. Weast said.
MCPS had less than 17 percent of the total number of 2009 graduates in Maryland, but accounted for 27 percent of graduates that took at least one AP exam and one-third of all graduates that scored a 3 or higher on at least one exam.
Since 2000, the percentage of MCPS graduates taking at least one AP exams has jumped from 26.6 percent to 64.4 percent. In that same time period, the percentage of graduates scoring a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam jumped from 30.7 percent to 48.7 percent.
"Our students, parents and staff understand the importance of rigor in preparing our graduates for college and success in the years to come," Dr. Weast said. "We will continue to make sure all of our students have access to AP and other rigorous classes."