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Maryland Students Continue Strong Showing on Advanced Placement

Participation Rises

BALTIMORE – Maryland student success on the Advanced Placement (AP) test remained strong in 2016 as participation rose to a new record.

The percentage of Maryland seniors who earned a score of 3 or higher on one or more AP exams exceeded 30 percent for the third consecutive year — 30.4 percent in 2016. That placed second to Massachusetts, which edged out Maryland with 31.0 percent of its students earning a score of 3 or better.

A score of 3 or better is the threshold at which many higher education institutions award college credit to high school students on an AP assessment. The percentage of Maryland graduates taking an AP test while in high school increased to 49.3 percent, behind only Florida (53 percent) and the District of Columbia (52.2 percent). In Massachusetts, 44.1 percent of graduates completed an AP test. Maryland also has the second highest test count per student. Of the test takers, Maryland students averaged 3.87 tests per student second to Virginia at 3.9 tests per student. Massachusetts averaged 3.1 tests per student.

“The AP program gives students important options while still in high school as they consider career and college,” said Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools. “The latest data from the College Board indicates continued growth in the program and a high rate of success for Maryland students. All students should have the opportunity to succeed in rigorous educational programs.”

These new statistics are included in AP cohort data just released today by the College Board for the class of 2016. Both participation and success improved throughout the nation, according to the report, with 36.2 percent of public high school graduates now taking at least one AP course and 21.9 percent receiving a 3 or better.

The College Board’s new analysis of the college-level assessment program provides a variety of information on efforts taking place in Maryland schools. For example:

• The percentage of Maryland graduating seniors scoring a 3 or better on an AP test has increased from 21.8 in 2006 to 30.4 this year — a leap of 8.6 percentage points.

• Nearly half of all Maryland high school graduates take at least one AP exam while in high school, and that tally has increased dramatically over the past decade. In 2006, 32.7 percent of Maryland graduates had taken at least one AP exam during their high school career. By 2016, 49.3 percent of seniors were taking at least one of the high-level exams.

• The number of Maryland high school seniors who scored a 3 or better on an AP exam increased from 12,081 in 2006 to 17,095 in 2016.

• In Maryland, as in the rest of the nation, there are gaps in AP participation and success between student groups. For example, while students eligible for Free and Reduced Price Meals account for 44.2 percent of the student population, they represented 21.2 percent of Maryland students taking an AP test.

• Equity gaps also exist between racial subgroups. While Asian students make up just 6 percent of the 11th and 12th grade student body, they account for 15 percent of the AP test takers. Maryland’s 11th and 12th graders are 44 percent White, but represent 54 percent of students taking an AP test. African American students are 35 percent of the 11th and 12th grade population, but 14 percent of students tested on AP. Maryland’s 11th and 12th graders are 11 percent Hispanic, and are 9 percent of students taking an AP test.

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program, which began in 1955, allows students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. Students of different interests and backgrounds can choose from more than 30 courses to demonstrate their knowledge of rigorous academic curriculum. More information about the AP program is available at