From staff reports
MONTGOMERY — Alabama’s continued commitment to expand access to challenging course work for students across the state has resulted in an increase in the number of Alabama public school students who take and excel on Advanced Placement exams, according to data released by the College Board.
The number of participating students who took the test in the 2013-2014 school year was 22,515, a 13 percent gain over the previous year. In addition, all minority groups rose in participation, with Mexican American students showing the largest rise in participation with 332 students, an increase of 25.8 percent more than last year.
AP is a rigorous academic program that offers high school students the chance for college-level study in more than 30 courses in a variety of subject areas. Success on an AP exam is defined as a score of 3 or higher – a score research shows is indicative of college success and graduation. The typical student who receives a score of 3 or higher on two AP exams has the potential to save, on average, more than $1,800 at a public four-year college in Alabama and $3,900 at a private institution.
Approximately 7.5 percent of Alabama’s public high school 11th- and 12th-graders scored a 3 or higher on an AP exam in 2013-2014, up from 2.8 percent a decade ago, the report shows. In addition, 10.3 percent of high school juniors and seniors who scored a 3 or higher were from low-income households, compared to 1.9 percent in 2004.
“The continued rise in the number of Alabama students who achieve high marks on AP exams is a testament to the time and dedication students in AP classes devote to excelling in these rigorous courses,” said State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice.
A partnership between the ALSDE and A+ College Ready offers schools multiple resources to encourage and maintain AP classes. A+ College Ready President Mary Boehm said she’s pleased with the progress Alabama has made in AP courses. Boehm noted that more students earned a qualifying score on an AP exam this past year than were even enrolled in AP courses a decade ago.
“The ALSDE and A+ College Ready announcement in August that Alabama has experienced the top growth in the nation in students receiving qualifying scores on AP math, science and English exams confirms the hard work that Alabama’s teachers and AP students put forth on a daily basis,” Boehm said.