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