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Public High School Students Scoring 3 or Higher on at Least One Advanced Placement Exam (Percent)

State Indicator S-13

This indicator represents the extent to which high school students are successfully demonstrating mastery of college-level material in specific disciplines. More than 30 different Advanced Placement (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. Research shows that performance on AP Exams is one of the best predictors of success in college.

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 AP Exam, which is a subset of Indicator S-12, Public High School Students Taking Advanced Placement Exams. 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 on at least one AP Exam typically experience greater academic success in college and higher college graduation rates than students who do not achieve these exam scores.

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: College Board, Advanced Placement Report to the Nation; U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics.

  • 1st Quartile

    22.94%30.1%
  • 2nd Quartile

    16.43%21.87%
  • 3rd Quartile

    11.49%16.38%
  • 4th Quartile

    4.6%11.45%
  • 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: College Board, Advanced Placement Report to the Nation and AP Cohort Data (various years), data as of June 2015; 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 at Least One Advanced Placement 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-exams

Last updated: January 18, 2018