Georgia students see gains on AP exams

Published 1:48pm Thursday, October 4, 2012

Special to The Post-Searchlight

Thousands more Georgia public school students took Advanced Placement (AP) exams this year compared to 2011 — and more of them passed the exam with a 3, 4 or 5 — the scores needed to earn course credit at many colleges, according to a press release from the Georgia Department of Education.

Data released by College Board, the company that runs the AP program, show the number of students scoring 3 to 5 on the exams — which means they may receive college credit —  jumped by 13.5 percent to 62,871.

The report also shows the number of Georgia students taking AP exams increased by 8 percent to 69,495 this year. That number is up 38 percent in the last five years.

What’s more, Georgia’s minority students continue to outperform their peers throughout the nation on AP exams.

Georgia’s minority students demonstrated a significant participation and performance increase on AP exams in May 2012 compared to May 2011. Over the last year, African-American and Hispanic AP test-takers increased 5.1 percent and 13.1 percent, respectively, compared to the national increase of 3.6 percent for African-American test-takers and 8.1 percent for Hispanic test-takers. Georgia’s minority student AP performance also overshadowed the performance of their national counterparts, with a 17.5-percent increase in AP exam scores of 3 or higher for African-American Georgia test-takers, and a 19.6 percent increase for Hispanic Georgia test-takers, compared to 12.5 percent and 14.0 percent, respectively, for the nation.

Georgia’s growth has been consistent. Since the 2006-2007 school year, the number of African-American and Hispanic AP test-takers increased 63 percent and 109.2 percent, respectively, compared to the national increase of 49.5 percent for African-American test-takers and 64.3 percent for Hispanic test-takers.

Our minority student AP performance also saw considerable gains over the past five years. Georgia’s African-American students saw a 91.2 percent five-year increase in AP exam scores of 3 or higher, compared to 70.8 percent for the nation. Georgia’s Hispanic students saw a 105.4 percent increase in AP exam scores of 3 or higher, compared to 65.9 percent for the nation.

“These scores show that more and more Georgia students are leaving our schools ready for college and careers,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “It’s critical that we continue to encourage students to take Advanced Placement classes so that they not only get the rigorous academic training they need to be successful, but they can also save some money on college tuition.”

According to the AP Report to the Nation, that is released by the College Board in February and looked at only the 2011 graduating seniors that took the exams, Georgia ranks 13th in the nation in the percentage of students scoring a 3 to 5 on AP exams. Georgia ranks second in the nation in the percentage of African-American students scoring a 3 to 5 on AP exams.

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