FL Students See Success on AP Exams

By: Florida Department of Education Email
By: Florida Department of Education Email
Florida’s ranks first for percentage of students taking AP exams and fourth for student success.

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman
Seniors Afomeya Haetamu, left, and Yasmin Abdullahi work on an assignment during their Advanced Placement biology class on Wednesday morning. The school has been focusing on academic rigor by encouraging students to take AP courses and exams for college credit.

Florida Department of Education Release

Tallahassee, Fla., February 20, 2013 – Florida jumped from sixth to fourth in the nation when it comes to the percentage of students scoring 3 or higher on an advanced placement exam according to The 9th Annual AP Report to the Nation released today by the College Board. Of last year’s public high school graduates, 27.3 percent (30,306 students) scored 3 or better on the challenging tests and were eligible to earn college credit. AP exams are graded on a scale of one to five, with three and above qualifying for college credit or advanced placement. Florida topped the national average of 19.5 percent and had the second highest increase of all states since 2002 (12.9 percent) in the percentage of public high school graduates earning AP scores of 3 or higher.

For the fourth year in a row, Florida ranked number one in the nation for having the highest percentage of graduates taking an AP exam while in high school. Nearly 53 percent of the 143,928 students who graduated from public high school in 2012 took an AP exam during their high school career (76,128 students), beating the national average of 32.4 percent.

Governor Scott said, “Florida teachers continue to pave the way for the Sunshine State’s successes in education. With Florida high school students ranking fourth in the nation for success on AP exams, our teachers are truly demonstrating a high performance that competes and succeeds on the national scale. As students receive a higher quality of education, they become better prepared for college and the workforce, which is great news for Florida families. We’ll continue taking the steps necessary to ensure every teacher gets the support they need to provide Florida’s future generations with the best education possible.”

Florida’s Hispanic/Latino and Black/African American students continued their progress in AP participation and success. A record number of 2012 Hispanic/Latino and Black/African American graduates took AP exams in high school – 19,791 Hispanic/Latino students, an increase of more than six percent from 2011, and 11,246 Black/African American students, a jump of more than five percent. The percentage of public high school graduates scoring a 3 or higher on the exams also rose again this year, with 29 percent of Hispanic/Latino graduates and 7.4 percent of Black/African American graduates earning a score of 3 or better, up from 28.4 and 7.1 percent respectively last year.

“The report shows that years of hard work on the part of Florida’s teachers are producing results. Florida's students are clearly graduating high school better prepared for college, careers and life," said Commissioner of Education Dr. Tony Bennett. "We must continue to raise the bar and push student achievement to new heights. This is very encouraging news and I congratulate our educators and students on their remarkable success."

Key Florida highlights of The 9th Annual AP Report to the Nation are below.

· Florida leads the nation for the fourth year in a row in the percentage of 2012 public high school graduates (52.9 percent) who took an AP exam in high school, up from 32.5 percent in 2007 and 23.6 percent in 2002.

· Florida ranks fourth in the nation in the percentage of 2012 public high school graduates (27.3 percent) scoring a 3 or higher on an AP exam – up from sixth place last year – rising from 17.4 percent in 2007 and 14.4 percent in 2002.

· Participation in AP exam-taking has increased steadily over the last decade. The number of Florida public high school graduates leaving high school having taken an AP exam increased by 170 percent. In 2002, about 24 percent of Florida graduates took at least one AP exam; by 2012 that percentage had risen to almost 53 percent.

· Florida is the only state in the nation among those with a large Hispanic/Latino population (20 percent or greater) in its graduating class to eliminate the participation and performance gap. Hispanics/Latinos made up almost 25 percent of the 2012 graduating class, yet they made up 26 percent of AP exam test takers and 29 percent of AP exam takers scoring 3 or higher.

· Florida’s Black/African American graduates have progressed in both participation and success on AP over the last ten years. In 2012, almost 15 percent of the high school graduates who had taken an AP exam were Black/African American, up from a little more than nine percent in 2002. In 2012, 7.4 percent of African American graduates scored 3 or higher on AP exams, rising from 5.6 percent in 2002.

· AP participation and performance saw a big increase for Florida’s low income public school graduates. In 2003, only 7.5 percent of graduates (2,439 students) who had taken an AP exam were low income; by 2012, the percentage rose to more than 31 percent (23,882 students). Success among low income graduates taking an AP exam increased, with 7.2 percent of 2003 graduates (1,403 students) earning a score of 3 or higher, compared to almost 28 percent (10,897 students) in 2012.

Other highlights from The 9th Annual AP Report to the Nation include

· Eleven Florida school districts (Broward, Dixie, Escambia, Hillsborough, Lake, Miami-Dade, Orange, Pinellas, Polk, Levy, and St. Johns) earned recognition as AP Districts of the Year for increasing access to AP coursework while simultaneously increasing the percentage of students scoring 3 or higher on AP exams.

· Participation in AP STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) courses taken during high school rose considerably to 34,119 students in 2012, with 13,729 graduates scoring a 3 or higher on the AP exam, up from 23,848 participating students and 10,355 graduates earning a score of 3 or higher in 2007.

The 9th Annual AP Report to the Nation and state supplement for Florida are available at http://apreport.collegeboard.org.

Maps of Florida’s districts showing participation and success on AP Exams are available on the department website.

Quotes from Florida Education Officials

Florida State Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand: “For the fourth year in a row, Florida students have outshone their counterparts nationwide in their dedication to pursuing advanced placement courses. With more than half of our state’s students taking AP courses during high school, significantly higher than the national average, we can be sure that they will be ready for a competitive college environment.”

Commissioner of Education Dr. Tony Bennett: “The report shows that years of hard work on the part of Florida’s teachers are producing results. Florida's students are clearly graduating high school better prepared for college, careers and life. We must continue to raise the bar and push student achievement to new heights. This is very encouraging news and I congratulate our educators and students on their remarkable success."

State University System Chancellor Frank T. Brogan: “As our universities work to attract the most talented high school students, we are happy that students are taking steps to become even more college-ready. More students earning higher scores on the AP test raises the bar for the entire State University System.”


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