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February 8, 2012 -- Georgia ranks 13th in the nation in the percentage of seniors scoring a 3 or higher on Advanced Placement (AP) exams, according to The College Board's AP Report to the Nation released today. This report measures progress of the class of 2011.
“More Georgia students than ever before are taking AP courses and passing the exam,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. "Success on AP exams means that students are prepared for college and careers, which is our ultimate goal."
Governor Nathan Deal added, “Our state’s excellent performance on AP exams demonstrates our success in cultivating excellence. With hard work and perseverance, young Georgians have the tools to achieve their dreams. Students who earn passing grades on Advanced Placement tests get a jump start on college and, in the long run, they help the state. These students represent the ‘best and brightest’ and are the future economic engines of Georgia. They also save our colleges and universities money by earning class credits."
Advanced Placement classes and exams are administered by the College Board, which also administers the SAT. AP classes offer rigorous college-level learning options to students in high school. Students who receive a 3, 4 or 5 on AP exams may receive college credit.
The AP Report to the Nation looks at data for 2011 high school seniors. Among Georgia's public high school seniors in 2011:
- There has been a steady increase in the number of Georgia’s public school students benefitting from the AP experience:
- 19.8 percent (16,476) of students from Georgia’s public high school class of 2011 scored 3 or higher on at least one AP exam during high school (ranking Georgia 13th in the nation), compared to 18.1 percent for the nation.
- 38.2 percent (31,764) of students from Georgia’s public high school class of 2011 took at least one AP exam during high school, compared to 26.0 percent (19,492) from the class of 2006 and 19.7 percent (12,332) from the class of 2001.
- Georgia is 12th in the nation when comparing the ten-year increase of seniors scoring a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam (9% growth compared to 7.3% for the nation).
- The number of African American graduates who took at least one AP exam during high school nearly doubled since the class of 2006, from 3,940 to 7,878. The number of these students who scored 3 or higher on at least one AP exam more than doubled, from 1,004 to 2,076.
- 12.6 percent (2,076) of African American students from Georgia’s public high school class of 2011 scored 3 or higher on at least one AP exam during high school (ranking Georgia 2nd in the nation), compared to 4.1 percent for the nation.
- More of Georgia’s traditionally underserved public high school graduates are participating and succeeding in AP.
- The number of low-income graduates who took at least one AP exam during high school nearly quadrupled, from 1,905 in the class of 2006 to 7,260 in the class of 2011. The number of these students who scored 3 or higher on at least one AP exam increased five times from 509 to 2,546.
- The number of Hispanic/Latino graduates who took at least one AP exam during high school nearly tripled since the class of 2006, from 778 to 2,247 in the class of 2011. The number of these students who scored 3 or higher on at least one AP exam more than doubled during that time, from 492 to 1,245.
- 7.1 percent of Georgia’s graduating class of 2011 was Hispanic/Latino, and 7.6 percent of successful AP exam takers from the 2011 graduating class were Hispanic/Latino. Georgia has achieved 100 percent AP equity and excellence for the Hispanic/Latino students.
- The 10 most popular AP exams taken by Georgia public high school graduates during high school, in descending order of popularity, were U.S. History, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, World History, Psychology, U.S. Government and Politics, Calculus AB, Statistics, Biology and Macroeconomics.
When it comes to public school students enrolling in AP courses and taking the exams, Georgia is also a national leader. Only five other states in the country had a greater percentage of AP exam takers last year. The percentage of Georgia seniors who took an AP exam was 38.2%, compared to 30.2% for the nation.
State Efforts to Increase AP Participation
The State of Georgia has undertaken many successful efforts to increase participation in AP programs and success on AP exams. Among the initiatives:
From 2003-2010, the Georgia Legislature approved funds to pay for students to take at least one AP exam per year. For those seven years, economically-disadvantaged students had all of their AP exams paid for each year. Budget cuts reduced that support to only one AP exam for economically-disadvantaged students in May 2011 and that support remains in place for the May 2012 exams.
The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) has organized the distribution of AP Teacher Training Grants. Since 2006, GaDOE has funded approximately $1,302,693.00 in grant awards to train 1,837 new AP teachers. These awards have allowed 899 new AP courses to be offered in public high schools throughout the state. It is anticipated that in 2012 an additional 100 AP teachers will be trained.
The GaDOE has sponsored regional workshops for teachers of AP for the past four years. These workshops are led by master teachers of AP in Georgia high schools. To date, over 2,426 AP teachers have participated in these course-specific workshops.
The Georgia Virtual Schools (GAVS) continues to add AP classes, increasing access to students throughout the state, including those that might not otherwise be able to take an AP class. More than 1,300 students took an AP course with GAVS for the 2011-12 school year.