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Chapter 8. State Indicators

Elementary and Secondary Education

Public High School Students Taking Advanced Placement Exams



Findings

  • Nationwide, the percentage of public school students who took an AP Exam rose from 18.0% of the class of 2002 to 31.2% of the class of 2012.
  • The percentage of public school students taking an AP Exam varied greatly among states and ranged from 11.1% to 51.0% of the class of 2012. Forty-one states and the District of Columbia exceeded the 2002 national average in 2012, compared with 16 states and the District of Columbia that exceeded the national average in 2002.
  • AP participation levels were higher for all jurisdictions in 2012 than in 2002. Arkansas showed the largest increase, with the class of 2012 exceeding the participation of the class of 2002 by 34 percentage points.


Description

Participation in the Advanced Placement (AP) program provides a measure of the extent to which a rigorous curriculum is available to and used by high school students. This indicator represents the percentage of students in the graduating class who have taken one or more AP Exams.

Throughout the United States, more than 954,000 public school students from the class of 2012 took nearly 2.9 million AP Exams during their high school careers. Generally, students who take AP Exams have completed a rigorous course of study in a specific subject area in high school with the expectation of obtaining college credit or advanced placement. AP Exams were taken most frequently in U.S. history, English literature and composition, English language and composition, calculus AB, and U.S. government and politics.

Students from the class of 2012 attended 13,383 U.S. public high schools that participated in the AP program. These schools make many different AP courses available to their students.


Data Table

Table 8-12
Public high school students taking Advanced Placement Exams, by state: 2002, 2007, and 2012
 
Public high school
graduates who took an
Advanced Placement
Exam
High school
graduates
High school
graduates
who took an
Advanced
Placement Exam (%)
State 2002 2007 2012 2002 2007 2012 2002 2007 2012
 
United States 471,404 694,705 954,070 2,621,534 2,893,045 3,053,230 18.0 24.0 31.2
Alabama 3,103 4,181 9,852 35,887 38,912 44,317 8.6 10.7 22.2
Alaska 1,085 1,497 1,621 6,945 7,666 7,813 15.6 19.5 20.7
Arizona 5,100 9,087 14,407 47,175 55,954 61,958 10.8 16.2 23.3
Arkansas 2,630 8,781 12,175 26,984 27,166 27,990 9.7 32.3 43.5
California 78,638 110,253 144,801 325,895 356,641 384,080 24.1 30.9 37.7
Colorado 8,585 13,753 18,358 40,760 45,628 50,176 21.1 30.1 36.6
Connecticut 6,790 9,819 13,332 32,327 37,541 36,836 21.0 26.2 36.2
Delaware 1,017 1,843 2,417 6,482 7,205 8,395 15.7 25.6 28.8
District of Columbia 584 1,017 1,512 3,090 2,944 3,194 18.9 34.5 47.3
Florida 28,170 49,234 76,128 119,537 142,284 149,219 23.6 34.6 51.0
Georgia 13,518 21,730 33,647 65,983 77,829 84,813 20.5 27.9 39.7
Hawaii 1,239 1,702 2,905 10,452 11,063 10,990 11.9 15.4 26.4
Idaho 1,795 2,507 3,150 15,874 16,242 17,043 11.3 15.4 18.5
Illinois 18,833 27,798 40,653 116,657 130,220 135,636 16.1 21.3 30.0
Indiana 7,575 11,306 21,260 56,722 59,887 63,354 13.4 18.9 33.6
Iowa 2,667 3,989 5,542 33,789 34,127 32,833 7.9 11.7 16.9
Kansas 2,458 3,519 5,167 29,541 30,139 30,428 8.3 11.7 17.0
Kentucky 4,537 7,036 12,218 36,337 39,099 41,038 12.5 18.0 29.8
Louisiana 1,399 1,957 3,931 37,905 34,274 35,501 3.7 5.7 11.1
Maine 2,572 3,680 4,576 12,593 13,151 13,468 20.4 28.0 34.0
Maryland 12,019 20,232 26,640 50,881 57,564 58,009 23.6 35.1 45.9
Massachusetts 12,084 17,036 22,808 55,272 63,903 63,701 21.9 26.7 35.8
Michigan 14,706 20,129 26,822 95,001 111,838 107,956 15.5 18.0 24.8
Minnesota 8,926 12,527 16,780 57,440 59,497 57,486 15.5 21.1 29.2
Mississippi 1,659 2,605 3,615 23,740 24,186 25,756 7.0 10.8 14.0
Missouri 3,895 5,846 9,235 54,487 60,275 61,471 7.1 9.7 15.0
Montana 1,367 1,543 1,913 10,554 10,122 9,466 13.0 15.2 20.2
Nebraska 1,199 1,882 2,886 19,910 19,873 19,656 6.0 9.5 14.7
Nevada 2,239 4,371 6,890 16,270 17,149 25,710 13.8 25.5 26.8
New Hampshire 1,919 2,850 3,238 12,452 14,452 13,917 15.4 19.7 23.3
New Jersey 15,350 21,944 27,433 77,664 93,013 93,211 19.8 23.6 29.4
New Mexico 2,496 3,434 4,815 18,094 16,131 18,141 13.8 21.3 26.5
New York 42,000 54,201 64,946 140,139 168,333 181,454 30.0 32.2 35.8
North Carolina 15,008 22,315 26,633 65,955 76,031 88,421 22.8 29.3 30.1
North Dakota 562 768 882 8,114 7,159 6,785 6.9 10.7 13.0
Ohio 14,057 19,929 25,170 110,608 117,658 119,318 12.7 16.9 21.1
Oklahoma 5,032 7,018 8,140 36,852 37,100 37,792 13.7 18.9 21.5
Oregon 3,643 6,107 8,059 31,153 33,446 34,662 11.7 18.3 23.3
Pennsylvania 15,890 21,887 28,750 114,943 128,603 127,773 13.8 17.0 22.5
Rhode Island 1,118 1,438 2,176 9,006 10,384 9,809 12.4 13.8 22.2
South Carolina 6,444 8,142 10,564 31,302 35,108 39,496 20.6 23.2 26.7
South Dakota 1,003 1,268 1,545 8,796 8,346 8,345 11.4 15.2 18.5
Tennessee 5,193 7,954 10,743 40,894 54,502 60,444 12.7 14.6 17.8
Texas 43,308 65,788 96,166 225,167 241,193 279,291 19.2 27.3 34.4
Utah 7,744 8,737 10,439 30,183 28,276 30,229 25.7 30.9 34.5
Vermont 1,280 1,913 2,151 7,083 7,317 6,827 18.1 26.1 31.5
Virginia 17,825 25,627 33,626 66,519 73,997 80,354 26.8 34.6 41.8
Washington 8,513 14,741 20,581 58,311 62,801 64,002 14.6 23.5 32.2
West Virginia 1,806 2,505 3,722 17,128 17,407 17,017 10.5 14.4 21.9
Wisconsin 10,205 14,454 18,076 60,575 63,968 62,111 16.8 22.6 29.1
Wyoming 619 825 974 6,106 5,441 5,538 10.1 15.2 17.6
 
Puerto Rico NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA
 

NA = not available.

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

SOURCES: Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates, 2012. College Board, Advanced Placement Report to the Nation (various years).

Science and Engineering Indicators 2014


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.

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