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Chapter 8. State Indicators

Elementary and Secondary Education

Percentage of public high school students scoring 3 or higher on Advanced Placement Calculus AB Exam



Findings

  • In 2010, a total of 237,000 Calculus AB exams were taken in the United States, and 137,000 were scored 3 or higher. Public school students took 200,000 Calculus AB exams and 108,000 of those were scored at 3 or above. The remaining 37,000 Calculus AB exams were taken by students who did not attend public schools, i.e., those who attended independent or religious schools, home schools, or did not identify their school.
  • Nationally, the share of the graduating class that demonstrated a mastery of Calculus AB by scoring a 3 or higher on the AP Exam increased from 2.7% in 2000 to 3.5% in 2010. Values for individual states ranged from a low of 0.5% to a high of 6.0% in 2010.
  • Between 2000 and 2010, nearly all states increased the percentage of high school graduates that had demonstrated their ability in Calculus AB. However, four states showed lower percentages in 2010.
  • Because the percentages are small, year-to-year comparisons should be made with caution. Variability in students' course selection and level of performance can affect the numbers.


Description

The Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus AB exam seeks to assess how well a student has mastered the concepts and techniques of differential and integral calculus. Many colleges and universities grant college credit or advanced placement for AP exam scores of 3 or higher.

AP courses in calculus consist of a full high school academic year of work and are comparable to calculus courses taught at colleges and universities. Prior to taking an AP Calculus course, students are expected to have completed four years of secondary mathematics intended for college-bound students consisting of courses in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, analytic geometry, and elementary functions. Even though a Calculus AB course may cover elementary functions, most of its topics will address differential and integral calculus. The use of a graphing calculator in AP Calculus is considered an integral part of the course, and graphing calculators are required on portions of the AP Examination.

Successful performance on the Calculus AB exam indicates that the student has a solid mathematical background and is prepared to undertake advanced training in mathematics, science, or engineering at the college or university level.

Data Table

Table 8-14
Public high school students scoring 3 or higher on Advanced Placement Calculus AB Exam, by state: 2000, 2005, and 2010
(Percent)
 
State 2000 2005 2010
 
United States 2.7 3.2 3.5
Alabama 0.8 1.0 1.8
Alaska 3.2 4.0 4.6
Arizona 1.8 2.1 1.6
Arkansas 2.2 1.7 2.1
California 3.4 4.3 4.8
Colorado 2.4 3.0 4.4
Connecticut 3.4 4.0 5.0
Delaware 2.2 3.5 3.8
District of Columbia 0.7 1.7 0.8
Florida 3.2 3.2 3.3
Georgia 2.5 3.0 3.3
Hawaii 1.5 1.9 2.0
Idaho 1.6 2.8 3.0
Illinois 3.2 3.6 3.9
Indiana 2.3 2.5 3.3
Iowa 1.4 1.6 1.7
Kansas 1.2 1.8 2.4
Kentucky 1.6 0.4 2.7
Louisiana 0.4 0.3 0.8
Maine 2.7 3.4 4.3
Maryland 3.4 4.3 5.4
Massachusetts 4.0 4.6 5.6
Michigan 2.5 3.0 3.6
Minnesota 3.0 3.3 4.1
Mississippi 0.5 0.7 0.5
Missouri 0.9 1.3 1.5
Montana 1.3 1.7 2.2
Nebraska 0.6 0.9 1.1
Nevada 2.1 2.6 2.6
New Hampshire 3.0 2.8 4.2
New Jersey 3.8 3.8 4.2
New Mexico 1.4 1.7 1.6
New York 5.1 5.0 5.2
North Carolina 3.4 3.9 3.2
North Dakota 1.2 1.6 1.8
Ohio 2.3 3.0 3.0
Oklahoma 1.3 1.1 1.3
Oregon 1.8 2.2 2.9
Pennsylvania 2.4 2.8 3.2
Rhode Island 1.6 1.9 3.1
South Carolina 3.4 3.7 3.5
South Dakota 2.4 3.2 3.4
Tennessee 1.5 1.7 1.5
Texas 1.9 2.4 2.6
Utah 5.0 4.9 4.7
Vermont 3.5 3.9 6.0
Virginia 3.7 3.6 4.2
Washington 2.7 4.0 4.6
West Virginia 1.3 1.4 1.3
Wisconsin 3.1 3.7 4.0
Wyoming 1.6 1.6 2.5
       
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.