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Record AP Performance by 2010 MCPS Graduates

February 9, 2011
Half of 2010 graduates passed at least one AP Exam;
Paint Branch High singled out as an “exemplary” program

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) set a new record for Advanced Placement performance with half of its 2010 graduates earning a college-ready score on at least one AP Exam—nearly double the rate of the state of Maryland and triple the rate nationally.

More than 5,000 students from the MCPS class of 2010 received a score of 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam during their high school education—a success rate of exactly 50 percent. In Maryland, 26.4 percent of 2010 graduates received a score of 3 or higher on an AP Exam, while nationally, the rate was 16.9 percent.

“We are proud that MCPS students are leading the nation in taking rigorous AP classes and demonstrating college readiness on the exams,” said Christopher S. Barclay, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education. “The outstanding effort and focus of our school staff is ensuring that a greater number of students each year are college and career ready.”

For the second time, Paint Branch High School was named an exemplary program by the College Board for the number of African American students who have taken the World History Advanced Placement Exam.

A Driving Force for AP

In Maryland, 26.4 percent of 2010 graduates received a 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam, which was highest among all the states. But without MCPS’ results, Maryland’s rate would have fallen to 21.4 percent—eighth place nationally. While MCPS represented about 17 percent of the state of Maryland’s 2010 graduates, the district had more than one quarter of the state’s graduates that took an AP Exam and about one-third of the graduates that scored a 3 or higher. In fact, MCPS had one percent of the nation’s graduates that scored a 3 or higher on at least one exam.
“Clearly, MCPS is a driving force in the state and nation in providing all students access to AP classes,” said Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools.

Research shows that “students who score a 3 or higher on AP Exams typically experience greater academic success in college,” according to the AP Report to the Nation, released by the College Board February 9. MCPS research confirms this finding, which is why earning a 3 or higher on an AP Exam is one of the Seven Keys to College Readiness, a clear pathway for students to follow that increases their chances to be prepared for, and succeed in, college. Among the MCPS graduating classes of 2001-2004, students that scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam received a bachelor’s degree at three times the rate as students who did not take an exam.

“National research shows that AP matters to college success and our research shows the same thing,” said Dr. Weast. “These AP results demonstrate that students who attend MCPS schools are simply better prepared for college and the work place than their peers around the state and the country.”

Of the 10,050 MCPS seniors in 2010, a total of 6,640 took at least one AP Exam while in high school, an increase of more than 300 students from 2009. Of the students that took the exams, about 76 percent scored a 3 or higher, significantly outperforming their public school peers in Maryland (61 percent) and the nation (60 percent).

Access and Success for All Students

African American and Hispanic graduates from MCPS also dramatically outperformed their peers across the state and the nation on AP exams in 2010.

More than 44 percent of MCPS’ African American 2010 graduates took at least one AP Exam, up from 41 percent in 2009, and significantly higher than the state and the nation. In fact, MCPS represents just half a percent of all the African American graduates in the nation, but has about 2.5 percent of all the African American graduates that scored a 3 or higher on at least one exam.

Greater than half of MCPS Hispanic 2010 graduates took at least one AP Exam, nearly twice the national rate. Of the Hispanic MCPS graduates who took an AP exam, nearly 70 percent received a score of three or higher. That is significantly higher than the national rate of 54.5 percent.

MCPS AP Participation and Performance

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