Georgia ranks 12th in nation in seniors passing AP exams. Continues to chart improvement and growth.

From DOE:

Georgia has moved up to 12th in the nation in the percentage of seniors scoring a 3 or higher – a passing score – on Advanced Placement exams, according to the College Board’s “AP Report to the Nation” released Wednesday. Georgia ranked 13th in the nation last year.

This report measures progress of the Class of 2012. When results are broken out by subgroup, Georgia’s African-American students rank 2nd in the nation (behind Washington D.C.) in the percentage of seniors scoring a 3 or higher on AP exams. Georgia’s 10-year increase (10.1%) in the percentage of seniors scoring a 3 or higher on AP exams also shows impressive results, ranking 9th in the nation.

Georgia is also a national leader when it comes to public school students enrolling in AP courses and taking the exams. Only five other states in the country had a greater percentage of AP exam takers last year. The percentage of Georgia seniors who took an AP exam was 41.1%, compared to 32.4% for the nation.

“Georgia’s students continue to outperform most of their peers throughout the country on Advanced Placement exams,” said state school Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “These results show that Georgia’s students can compete against any students in the nation. Just as SAT results get everyone’s attention, I think the performance of our students on Advanced Placement exams deserves the same attention.”

Gov. Nathan Deal added, “The continued high scores of all Georgia students on AP exams are certainly cause for celebration. Advanced Placement courses help students develop college-level academic skills, and passing scores on those exams help students earn college credit for the knowledge they’ve gained. Georgia’s improvement on the percentage of seniors earning a three or better on AP exams represents a good deal – for our students and our state.”

Advanced Placement classes and exams are administered by the College Board, which also administers the SAT. AP classes offer rigorous college-level learning options to students in high school. Students who receive a 3, 4 or 5 on AP exams may receive college credit.

The AP Report to the Nation looks at data for 2012 high school seniors. Among Georgia’s public high school seniors in 2012:

• There has been a steady increase in the number of Georgia’s public school students benefiting from the AP experience:

• The number of public school graduates leaving high school having taken an AP Exam in Georgia has increased by 149 percent in the last decade.

• 21.7 percent (17,767) of students from Georgia’s public high school class of 2012 scored 3 or higher on at least one AP exam during high school (ranking Georgia 12th in the nation), compared to 19.5 percent for the nation.

• 41.1 percent of graduates (33,647) from Georgia’s public high school class of 2012 took at least one AP Exam during high school, compared to 28.3 percent (21,730) from the class of 2007 and 20.5 percent (13,518) from the class of 2002.

• Georgia is 9th in the nation when comparing the 10-year increase of seniors scoring a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam (10.1% growth compared to 7.9% for the nation).

• The number of African American graduates who took at least one AP exam during high school nearly doubled in five years, from 4,555 to 8,900. The number of these students who scored 3 or higher on at least one AP exam more than doubled, from 1,086 to 2,417.

• 13.6 percent (2,417) of African American students from Georgia’s public high school class of 2012 scored 3 or higher on at least one AP exam during high school (ranking Georgia 2nd in the nation), compared to 4.4 percent for the nation.

• More of Georgia’s traditionally underserved public high school graduates are participating and succeeding in AP.

• The number of low-income graduates who took at least one AP exam during high school increased from 2,665 in the class of 2007 to 9,806 in the class of 2012. The number of these students who scored 3 or higher on at least one AP exam increased from 880 to 3,641.

• The number of Hispanic/Latino graduates who took at least one AP exam during high increased from 995 for the class of 2007 to 2,488 for the class of 2012. The number of these students who scored 3 or higher on at least one AP exam more than doubled during that time, from 599 to 1,375.

• 7.9 percent of Georgia’s graduating class of 2012 was Hispanic/Latino, and 7.4 percent of successful AP exam takers from the 2012 graduating class were Hispanic/Latino.

• The 10 most popular AP exams taken by Georgia public high school graduates during high school, in descending order of popularity, were U.S. History, English Language and Composition, World History, English Literature and Composition, U.S. Government and Politics, Calculus AB, Psychology, Statistics, Biology and Macroeconomics.

Georgia has undertaken many successful efforts to increase participation in AP programs and success on AP exams. Among the initiatives:

From 2003-2010, the Georgia Legislature approved funds to pay for students to take at least one AP exam per year. For those seven years, economically-disadvantaged students had all of their AP exams paid for each year. Budget cuts reduced that support to only one AP exam for economically-disadvantaged students beginning in May 2011 and that support remains in place.

The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) has organized the distribution of AP Teacher Training Grants. Since 2006, GaDOE has funded approximately $1,592,493.00 in grant awards to train 2,264 new AP teachers. These awards have allowed 1147 new AP courses to be offered in public high schools throughout the state. It is anticipated that in 2013 an additional 200 AP teachers will be trained.

The GaDOE has sponsored regional workshops for teachers of AP for the past six years. These workshops are led by master teachers of AP in Georgia high schools. To date, over 3,303 AP teachers have participated in these course-specific workshops.

The Georgia Virtual School now offers 25 AP classes, increasing access to students throughout the state, including those that might not otherwise be able to take an AP class. More than 1,350 students took an AP course with GAVS for the 2012-13 school year.

Research shows that students who took AP math or science exams were more likely than non-AP students to earn degrees in physical science, engineering or life science disciplines — the fields leading to some of the careers essential for America’s future prosperity. AP courses and exams are currently offered in the following STEM subjects: Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Computer Science A, Environmental Science, Physics B, Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism, and Physics C: Mechanics, Statistics.

In 2002, 7314 high school graduates took an AP math or science class during high school. In 2012, that number rose to 18, 131. In 2002, there were 3,898 grads who scored a 3 or high on an AP math or science exam during high school. In 2012, that number rose to 8,224.

The College Board recently announced the AP® STEM Access program to increase the number of traditionally underrepresented minority and female high school students who participate in AP STEM courses. Thirty-one schools in Georgia are eligible for the program to start new AP math and science courses.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

29 comments Add your comment

Centrist

February 21st, 2013
9:33 am

Another group of positive metrics we all should applaud.

Like all statistics, there are some caveats. One that I can think of is that there are many top achieving high school seniors who opt out of AP courses to instead take actual college courses under the Joint Honors Enrollment Program for which they must qualify. Adding these top students to the statistical data in all states would increase percentages and likely change the rankings.

bootney farnsworth

February 21st, 2013
9:49 am

based on the free fall of public education in Georgia, I have a hard time taking this seriously

Just Sayin

February 21st, 2013
9:52 am

What this shows is if a kid is really smart, a really hard worker, or in the right school district, he or she can do well. People will knock these results but the truth is that all aspects of public schools aren’t bad. YES, there are things that make some parts a horror show, but there are some really good things too.

MiltonMan

February 21st, 2013
9:54 am

As long as the state does not include educational “data” from APS, Clayton, South Fulton & DeKalb, the numbers look pretty good.

Devil's Advocate

February 21st, 2013
10:16 am

bootney farnsworth,

The problem with people like you is not that you lack intellect but that you allow your observations and opinions to be clouded by your desired outcome. Just because you are familiar with a set of negative statistics, opinions, or experiences does not mean that all future data will also be negative. Part of being a reasonable person is to continue to assess data and understand the realities of the world as they change for good or bad.

Are there problems? Yes. Does that mean there cannot be positives too? No.

Atlanta Mom

February 21st, 2013
10:16 am

It seems to me that the class of 2012 may be the last for which the state funded any of the cost for AP exams. I imagine we will see a drop in participation for low income students. $96 (or whatever the cost is this year) may be cheap for a college credit, but it’s still food off the table for some people.

public school parent

February 21st, 2013
10:27 am

Thank you Grady High School. My child and my child’s friends took those exams and did well. They were not wealthy- far far far from it. Grady has mixture of kids from all walks of life so that comment about gene pools or wealthy communities do not fit. Those students were focused and at Grady the teachers and administration helped them keep that focus during senior year second semester when even some of the really academically minded students get senioritis. Thank Grady and I will always be grateful that my child is a Grady alum. Hooray for true public education.

Centrist

February 21st, 2013
10:37 am

@ Bootney – I agree with Devil’s Advocate that positives should not be disregarded.

@ MiltonMan – Clayton, South Fulton & DeKalb schools are included in the statistics. It is probably true that if they (and some other poorly performing school districts) were excluded that the percentages would be better, but this is a STATE average. Just like other States have to average their schools.

@ Atlanta Mom – All families must make priority decisions on their spending. We are not totally socialized so that all costs are equalized among income income brackets, but there are myriads of transfer payments to help the truly poor (and even some middle class). The hyperbole of “food off the table” is ridiculous.

Mountain Man

February 21st, 2013
10:41 am

So I guess this is supposed to tell us how the top 20% of Georgia students are doing. How about the bottom 50%? How are they doing? Where do we rank on that? (Is there even a measure for that, other than drop-out rate).

Another Voice

February 21st, 2013
10:42 am

I would like state to put money back in for the multiple AP courses for low-income students. If they can make that kind of effort, which helps them get into colleges (and morely like to receive scholarships!) it’s a great investment.

Surely we can scrap together the money – seriously, if we can talk about helping underwrite a stadium ….

Maude

February 21st, 2013
10:43 am

All children can learn if they have the right help at home. Children who come from homes where education is valued they will excel. I would like to see the racial makeup of the schools that made the list. I see more and more that different races have different expecations for their children. I know the social class also plays a part into this. Welfare children normally do not have any help from home. I have taught for 25 years all in a minority population school. Parents today care less about their childs education that they did 5 or 10 years ago. It seems that the black community has forgotten where they came from and the hard work that was done for them by fellow African Americans during the last century. From the early 1900’s until the last 10 years or so black parents valued and wanted their children to be educated and productive citzens as adults. I challenge the black community to step up and help these parents relize the needs of these children. I have seen so many children with great potential fall by the way side because they have not help or encouragement at home. Like the old commerical said a Great Mind is a terrible than to lose. Let’s work to make sure that all children can be the best they can be. I do my part daily but my encourage and praise only goes for far!! I only have one school year with these brillant children and if the next teacher doesn’ care as much as me then the child has no one. I have cried many nights because of a brillant child that is going down the wrong path because they have no one a home that cares.

Decaturite

February 21st, 2013
10:53 am

Shocked and pleased. And disappointed to hear that the state will stop funding AP exam fees for needy. When Georgia public schools finally have something going well, let’s not pull out the rug from them!

William Casey

February 21st, 2013
11:01 am

This is genuinely good news. I began teaching A.P. courses in 1982 and took the A.P. teacher training three times over the course of my career. The A.P. teaching experience made me a better teacher, not only in my A.P. classes but in my other classes as well. Taking even just ONE A.P. course is of great benefit to a student because it provides a glimpse of what college will be like. Georgia should fund the cost of taking the test. The A.P. Exam is rigorous and gives the student the opportunity to compare himself to students from all over the nation.

Just Sayin

February 21st, 2013
11:06 am

@Maude I guess you missed all the parts of the article that talked the African Americn students being ranked number 2 in the nation. So I guess that means that there are African American students SOMEWHERE in the state that have high expectations and a drive to succeed. Oh and there are more white people on welfare than blacks.

Centrist

February 21st, 2013
11:23 am

Some pertinent Census statistics:

High school graduate or higher, percent of persons age 25+, 2007-2011: Georgia 84% USA 85%

Black persons, percent, 2011: Georgia 31% USA 13%

bootney farnsworth

February 21st, 2013
12:30 pm

believe as you wish. doesn’t change reality, but if you feel better about yourselves…

bootney farnsworth

February 21st, 2013
12:33 pm

when the Titanic sank, several people voluntarily sacrificed themselves for others.
at the end of the day, however, Titanic still sank, and 2000 people died horribly.

same concept applies.

Ole Guy

February 21st, 2013
12:34 pm

This is all great news and to be met with hearty applause, however, let us not lose focus on the big picture(s). As I have so often brought out (much to many, within the readership, as dubbing me arrogant), these kids aren’t in school so that they may be singularly recognized as progressing…that they appear (statistically speaking) to be showing improvement is indeed noteworthy, however (last time I heard), the whole purpose behind the zoo of education was to get these kids ready for bigger and better things, like: college graduation…NOT getting into college, but GRADUATING from same…and in a reasonable period of time…preping for an ever-demanding work force in 21st century skills…at the end of the day, even securing a viable perch in the economy.

Making good grades in AP stuff is good/great/worthy of attaboys all around, but let us be, for a change, honest with ourselves. MAKING GOOD GRADES…AP OR OTHERWISE…IS KINDA WHAT’S EXPECTED OF THESE KIDS. While we speak, in platitudes, of hitting the high marks in academia, let us not assign the reaching of these objectives as the “mission accomplished” goal. These milestones, worthy of note, should not be met with the celebratory shooting of cannon.

Let’s see if the class of 12/13 will do well in the post-high school challenges which will, surely, place the challenges of high school, comparitively, in the catagory of…too damn easy.

Just Sayin

February 21st, 2013
12:35 pm

@ Centrist that 84% is an interesting statistic, that I am sure someone will come along and try to smash it and say something to the effect of it can’t be correct because of what they think or that that 84% ’s high school diplomas don’t mean anything (even though they are probably in that percentage of high school graduates living in GA).

I wish African American graduation rates were higher, but alas I am preaching to the choir on that front.

A Conservative Voice

February 21st, 2013
12:35 pm

@Just Sayin

February 21st, 2013
11:06 am

Oh and there are more white people on welfare than blacks.

Well, just sayin, of course there are. White’s make up a larger portion of the population than blacks. You know, you’re just like all those people in DC that put out these false numbers every month. Hey, use “percentages” instead of actual people and see what a difference it makes…….you manipulator you!!!!!!

beteachin

February 21st, 2013
12:42 pm

Georgia’s Top of the Top fare very well when compared to the Nation’s Top of the Top. As a longtime Georgia educator, I’ve always known this and am glad to see it backed up with proof. Now, for the rest of Georgia’s students….. If a small district can’t afford to offer AP courses, what is a high achieving child to do? Taking college classes through joint enrollment at a community college DOES NOT necessarily translate to the rigor of AP courses at Georgia’s best high schools. In fact, the college courses are often easier. I do not, as a parent or as a teacher, support joint enrollment/early college courses for most students. Simply put, it’s bad for a high school to have its “best and brightest” skimmed off the top by the colleges. This lowers the overall achievement/expectations/rigor of the school when the brightest students are no longer on campus. So what should a super-bright child do if he/she doesn’t live in an affluent area where AP courses are offered? His transcript will not fare well when compared to a graduate who has 10+ AP courses under his belt. Do parents of very bright students have a duty to move to the Metro area where educational opportunities abound? Please advise.

Hey Teacher

February 21st, 2013
1:05 pm

I wonder if IB schools/programs are included in any of these studies or is it just AP? I know that some schools have students sit for both exams.

Mountain Man

February 21st, 2013
1:56 pm

” If a small district can’t afford to offer AP courses, what is a high achieving child to do? Taking college classes through joint enrollment at a community college DOES NOT necessarily translate to the rigor of AP courses at Georgia’s best high schools. In fact, the college courses are often easier.”

That happened to my daughter, who maxed out all the AP courses that our small high school offerred. Then she went joint enrollment at Kennesaw, but suffered when she applied to UGA, because joint enrollment are not treated as highly by accepting colleges as AP courses.

AlreadySheared

February 21st, 2013
2:29 pm

Like all the posters preceding me, I think this is good news.

I note with interest, however, the lack of protest against an instructional model that culminates in a single, high stakes, standardized test. Apparently, this is good for AP classes, and bad in other circumstances.

jerry eads

February 21st, 2013
2:59 pm

Farnsworth is totally lost in some sort of separate depressive reality. He (or she) has no interest in any semblance of objectivity. As with several others who post here, simply ignore them. They’re not worth the electrons to try to engage them in reasoned discussion.

There are no doubt some highly disfunctional school administrations, and not only in the metro area. Some of these have been so sick for so long even the teachers have caught the disease. These districts make me rethink my position on charters and vouchers if only because the electorate in these areas apparently is not capable of exercising the rights of democracy the country has worked so hard and so long to give them.

THAT said, it’s very clear from the data that in spite of the criminally shortsighted theft of $billions from OUR schools by our ELECTED leaders (it’s OUR fault, people), there are more than a few things in our schools to be pleased with – and even proud of. The AP bunch (including, don’t forget, some folks at the state office) have done remarkable work for a long time (this didn’t happen overnight) against all odds thrown at the schools by the gold dome.

Georgia Dad

February 21st, 2013
2:59 pm

How much does it cost to take an AP class from the Georgia Virtual School?

jerry eads

February 21st, 2013
3:01 pm

VERY good, Sheared :-) . Point well taken.

William Casey

February 21st, 2013
4:32 pm

@Sheared: Two thoughts: (1) The students receive grades for the class just as students in regular classes do. These grades reflect many assignments and tests. (2) Most high level students are much more capable of handling a high stakes exam than average or below students. I would have advised my son to take a number of AP courses even if there was no college credit. The thing that AP Exams do is give students an unbiased,realistic assessment of their academic mastery of the subject.

V for Vendetta

February 22nd, 2013
7:58 am

While not technically relevant to education, this story does provide a window into the types of kids we are expected to teach and the impact of home life upon them. Check it out:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/20/us/new-york-strippers-teen-party/index.html?hpt=hp_bn1