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Chapter 8. State Indicators

Elementary and Secondary Education

Percentage of public high school students scoring 3 or higher on at least one Advanced Placement Exam



Findings

  • Nationally, 16.9% of public school students in the class of 2010 demonstrated the ability to do college-level work by obtaining a score of 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam, a substantial increase from the 10.2% of the class of 2000 who obtained that score.
  • Students from all states and the District of Columbia demonstrated greater success on AP Exams in 2010 than in 2000, but this success was not evenly distributed. In 2010, 13 states and the District of Columbia had percentages below the 2000 national average of 10.2% compared with 38 jurisdictions in 2000.
  • The percentage of students who scored 3 or higher on an AP Exam varied widely among states. For the class of 2010, this percentage ranged from a low of 4.4% to a high of 26.4% across states.


Description

This indicator represents the extent to which high school students are successfully demonstrating mastery of college-level material in specific disciplines. State scores on this indicator reflect students' access to rigorous coursework as well as their success in comprehending and using it. The indicator value is defined as the percentage of U.S. public high school graduates who have scored 3 or higher on at least one Advanced Placement (AP) Exam. Many colleges and universities grant college credit or advanced placement for AP Exam scores of 3 or higher. Students who score a 3 or higher typically experience greater academic success in college and higher graduation rates.

A total of 33 different AP Exams are offered each spring by the College Board. The exams include a multiple choice section and a free response section. To prepare for the AP Exam in a subject area, most students enroll in an AP class that employs a curriculum of high academic intensity. Performance on AP Exams has been shown in research to be one of the best predictors of success in college.

Data Table

Table 8-13
Public high school students scoring 3 or higher on at least one Advanced Placement Exam, by state: 2000, 2005, and 2010
(Percent)
 
State 2000 2005 2010
 
United States 10.2 14.1 16.9
Alabama 3.9 5.3 9.0
Alaska 10.1 12.4 14.3
Arizona 7.2 9.2 8.8
Arkansas 4.3 7.7 12.5
California 15.0 19.7 22.3
Colorado 12.2 16.9 21.4
Connecticut 13.6 19.1 23.2
Delaware 7.6 12.9 15.4
District of Columbia 6.6 8.7 6.9
Florida 13.5 18.5 22.3
Georgia 9.7 13.5 19.1
Hawaii 5.8 8.2 9.4
Idaho 6.5 9.6 11.0
Illinois 9.9 14.1 17.2
Indiana 6.0 8.9 12.4
Iowa 4.9 6.7 8.8
Kansas 4.4 6.5 9.5
Kentucky 5.5 8.3 12.2
Louisiana 1.9 2.5 4.6
Maine 10.1 14.4 19.0
Maryland 14.1 21.0 26.4
Massachusetts 14.5 18.7 23.1
Michigan 8.8 11.6 15.0
Minnesota 8.1 11.5 16.8
Mississippi 2.3 3.3 4.4
Missouri 3.7 6.0 7.5
Montana 6.8 10.0 11.7
Nebraska 3.2 4.4 7.4
Nevada 9.1 12.0 15.0
New Hampshire 9.2 11.5 16.6
New Jersey 12.9 16.5 18.6
New Mexico 6.1 8.5 10.2
New York 17.9 22.8 24.6
North Carolina 11.3 17.1 17.5
North Dakota 4.4 6.0 6.8
Ohio 7.1 10.1 11.8
Oklahoma 5.4 8.2 10.3
Oregon 7.1 10.7 14.1
Pennsylvania 8.3 10.5 12.7
Rhode Island 6.9 8.1 10.9
South Carolina 10.0 12.6 15.1
South Dakota 5.9 8.8 11.0
Tennessee 6.2 8.9 9.7
Texas 9.9 13.7 15.5
Utah 17.4 20.5 19.2
Vermont 11.5 15.4 21.8
Virginia 15.9 19.3 23.7
Washington 7.6 13.2 17.1
West Virginia 4.6 5.8 7.6
Wisconsin 10.5 14.5 18.3
Wyoming 3.8 5.8 8.5
       
Puerto Rico NA NA NA
 

NA = not available

NOTE: National average for United States is reported value in Advanced Placement Report to the Nation.

SOURCE: College Board, Advanced Placement Report to the Nation (various years).

Science and Engineering Indicators 2012

Source Data

State Data Tool

The state data tool allows interactive exploration of the 58 indicators in this chapter. Users have the ability to choose and explore a single indicator in-depth, compare multiple indicators for preselected groups, customize their own graphics, or download data tables. Click the button below to get started.