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MCPS Graduates Earn High Marks on AP and IB Exams

February 11, 2014
More than half of the graduates from the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Class of 2013 earned a college-ready score on at least one Advanced Placement (AP) exam, far outperforming their peers across the state and the nation.

MCPS also saw growth in student participation and performance on International Baccalaureate (IB) exams.

“MCPS students continue to take challenging AP and IB courses and perform very well on the exams,” said Superintendent of Schools Joshua P. Starr. “We want all of our students to graduate ready for college and the workplace and we will continue to offer them the opportunities and resources they need to be successful.”

In 2013, 51.4 percent of MCPS graduates earned a college-ready score of 3 or higher on at least one AP exam, an overall decrease of 0.9 percentage points from 2012, but an increase of 1.8 percentage points from 2011. MCPS graduates surpassed their peers in the state of Maryland (29.6 percent) and the nation (20.1 percent) in AP performance.

Nearly two-thirds of 2013 MCPS graduates (66 percent) took at least one AP exam while in high school. While this is a decrease of 1.3 percentage points from 2012, it is significantly higher than the state (47.4 percent) and nearly two times the national rate (33.2 percent).


At 29.6 percent, Maryland is the state with the highest percentage of graduates earning a college-ready score on an AP exam, according to the College Board’s AP Report to the Nation, released Tuesday (February 11, 2014). MCPS played a large role in that success. While MCPS accounted for 18 percent of the state’s graduates in 2013, the district accounted for 31 percent of the graduates that scored a 3 or higher on at least one exam.

Students from all racial and ethnic subgroups in the MCPS Class of 2013 continued to maintain high rates of participation and performance on the AP exam.

The percentage of Hispanic MCPS graduates that scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam was 35.8 percent, which is significantly higher than the state of Maryland (28 percent). The percentage of African American MCPS graduates that scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam was 22.1 percent, which was more than double the percentage in the state of Maryland (9.7 percent). Dr. Starr said the fact that African American and Hispanic students continue to outperform their peers across the state and the nation is good news. However, he remains concerned about the achievement gap.

“We cannot be satisfied that our students are simply doing better than their peers in other districts and other states,” Dr. Starr said. “We must acknowledge that some of our students are not doing as well as others and strive to do whatever it takes to narrow and, eventually, eliminate those gaps.”

Three high schools—Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Poolesville and Rockville—demonstrated increases in AP exam participation for both Hispanic and African American graduates. Six schools—Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Winston Churchill, Damascus, Northwest, Rockville and Sherwood—saw an increase in AP exam performance for both Hispanic and African American graduates.

AP participation and performance have grown dramatically in MCPS over the past decade. Scoring a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam or a 4 or higher on an IB exam is one of the milestones that MCPS and the Montgomery County Board of Education are monitoring as part of the district’s Strategic Planning Framework—
Building Our Future Together: Students, Staff and Community.  

School AP Highlights

-In 2013, there were 8 MCPS high schools that saw an increase in the percentage of graduates taking at least one AP exam, compared with 2012. The largest increases were at Clarksburg (up 5.9 percentage points), Damascus (4.7), Bethesda-Chevy Chase (3.0), Rockville (2.6), and Sherwood (2.1).

-In 2013, there were 10 MCPS high schools that saw an increase in the percentage of graduates scoring a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam, compared with 2012. The largest increases were at Rockville (up 10 percentage points), Damascus (8.6), Clarksburg (4.4), Northwest (3.7) and Walt Whitman (2.2).

-All 25 MCPS high schools outperformed the nation in the percentage of graduates scoring a 3 or higher on at least one exam, and 20 outperformed the state of Maryland.

-The high schools with the greatest percentage of 2013 graduates earning a score of 3 or higher on at least one AP exam were Walt Whitman (83.5 percent), Winston Churchill (83.5 percent), Thomas S. Wootton (77.2 percent) and Poolesville (72 percent).


International Baccalaureate  

Participation and performance on International Baccalaureate exams is growing across the district. International Baccalaureate programs are offered at eight MCPS high schools. In 2013, 7.4 percent of MCPS graduates took at least one IB exam, which is up 1.8 percentage points since 2011.

The percentage of 2013 graduates earning a college-ready score on at least one IB exam (4 or higher) was 6.4 percent, up 1.3 percentage points since 2011.

In total, 778 graduates from the MCPS Class of 2013 took at least one IB exam, up 37 percent in two years. Of the 2013 graduates that took an IB exam, more than 86 percent earned a college-ready score on at least one exam.

MCPS Report on AP and IB Participation and Performance

AP Report to the Nation (College Board)



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