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Public High School Students Scoring 3 or Higher on the Advanced Placement Calculus AB Exam (Percent)

State Indicator S-14

The Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus AB exam assesses how well a student has mastered the concepts and techniques of differential and integral calculus. The indicator value is defined as the percentage of U.S. public high school graduates who have scored 3 or higher on the AP Calculus AB exam during their high school career and is a subset of S-13, Public High School Students Scoring 3 or Higher on at Least One Advanced Placement Exam. Many colleges and universities grant college credit or advanced placement for AP Exam scores of 3 or higher. 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.

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 4 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 Exam.

A fee is charged by the College Board for the AP Exam. Recognizing that cost may be an impediment to taking the test, the College Board provides a partial fee waiver to qualified low-income students. Since 1997, many states and municipalities have started partially or fully subsidizing the cost of taking the test. Some of this subsidy is from the federal Department of Education.

Data sources: Derived from data provided by the College Board; U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics.

  • 1st Quartile

    5.24%7.26%
  • 2nd Quartile

    3.40%5.16%
  • 3rd Quartile

    2.36%3.40%
  • 4th Quartile

    0.77%2.35%
  • No data

Footnote

NA = not available.

NOTES: The national total for the United States for Advanced Placement data is the value reported by the College Board and does not include U.S. territories. The national graduate total for the United States includes U.S. territories and estimates for nonreporting states; the value for 2014 is an NCES projection.

SOURCE: Derived from data provided by the College Board. Copyright © 2001–2016 The College Board. www.collegeboard.org; U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics (various years), data as of February 2017.

Recommended Citation: National Science Board. 2018. “Public High School Students Scoring 3 or Higher on the Advanced Placement Calculus AB Exam.” Science and Engineering Indicators 2018, State Indicators. Alexandria, VA: National Science Foundation (NSB-2018-1). https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/state-indicators/indicator/public-hs-students-scoring-3-or-higher-on-ap-calculus-ab-exams

Last updated: January 18, 2018