More students taking, scoring higher on AP exams

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The number of Kentucky public high school students taking Advanced Placement (AP) examinations and scoring at high levels continues to rise, data released today from the College Board indicate.

 Since 2007, the number of Kentucky public high school students taking AP examinations has risen by nearly 44 percent. The number of tests scored at 3, 4 or 5 has increased by about 75 percent.

 

Number of AP Test-Takers

Number of Tests

Number of Scores 3-5

2007

13,208

20,742

9,889

2008

14,664

23,280

10,925

2009

16,958

27,129

13,178

2010

19,604

31,742

14,837

2011

23,547

37,977

17,404

 The performance of ethnic groups in Kentucky’s public schools showed increases from 2005 to 2010. Since 2005, the number of non-white public school students taking one or more AP exams has more than doubled.

NUMBER OF PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS TAKING ONE OR MORE AP EXAMS – BY ETHNICITY

 

 

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

African American

550

686

814

1,011

1,295

American Indian

36

45

41

60

76

Asian

555

602

693

720

832

Hispanic

228

283

388

448

577

White

11,359

12,511

14,369

16,496

19,794

Other

263

303

409

442

538

No Response

217

234

244

427

435

TOTAL

13,208

14,664

16,958

19,604

23,547

 Since 2007, the number of AP test scores of 3, 4 or 5 has risen for students in all ethnic groups.

NUMBER OF PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS WITH SCORES OF 3-5 ON AP EXAMS – BY ETHNICITY

 

 

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

African American

166

204

255

287

372

American Indian

12

19

21

25

24

Asian

356

406

471

477

561

Hispanic

129

150

190

223

301

White

5,640

6,091

7,298

8,247

9,633

Other

151

150

182

199

270

No Response

111

112

130

224

170

TOTAL

6,565

7,132

8,547

9,682

11,331

 
The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program enables students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. Based on their performance on rigorous AP exams, students can earn credit, advanced placement or both for college.

Schools and districts determine prerequisite requirements for student eligibility. Common criteria include grades, teacher recommendations and PSAT and other test scores. The College Board encourages, but does not require, a non-exclusive admittance policy.

 Senate Bill 74, passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2002, required the development of a core AP curriculum and the expansion of access to AP courses through the Kentucky Virtual High School. Currently, 34 AP courses are offered in Kentucky, including art history, biology, chemistry, English literature, United States history, physics and statistics.

In November 2005, the National Governors Association awarded grants of $500,000 each to Kentucky and five other states to improve the access to and success in AP courses. Kentucky has used its award to increase student and teacher preparation for AP and to develop AP expansion. Students eligible for free and reduced-price school meals qualify for waivers of the fees to take the AP exams.

In 2007, the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) formed a partnership with the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC) to expand access to, preparation for and participation in academically rigorous coursework such as AP classes.

Through the Advanced Placement Teacher Training and Incentive Program (APTIP), NMSI has committed $13.2 million in matching funds to AdvanceKentucky over a six-year period through monies from Exxon Mobil Corporation and the Dell and Gates Foundations. Federal funding also is provided by the Kentucky Department of Education through the U.S. Department of Education AP Incentive Program and by the Appalachian Regional Commission.

First-year results reported in 2009 showed an increase of 14 times the national rate of growth. An additional 20 schools have joined AdvanceKentucky for the 2011-12 school year, for a total of 64 schools and an estimated 17,000 enrollments in AP math, science and English classes. For more details on AdvanceKentucky, please visit http://www.advancekentucky.com.

The College Board also released data on SAT and PSAT/NMSQT scores. The scores of Kentucky public high school students who took the SAT I in 2011 remained stable in the critical reading and writing portions, but dropped on the mathematics portion, compared to 2010’s results. At the same time, however, the number of students taking the test decreased by about 2.3 percent from 2010 to 2011. Therefore, these data are difficult to interpret.

 

SAT I CRITICAL READING

SAT I MATH

SAT I WRITING

2007

562

566

547

2008

566

573

550

2009

575

581

560

2010

578

585

563

2011

578

580

563

 A very small percentage of Kentucky public school students take the SAT I — only 4 percent of graduating public school seniors participated in the test in 2011. Due to the varying degrees of participation among states, and changes in the number of students taking the test each year, the College Board cautions against making between- state or between-year comparisons based on mean scores.

The mean scores of Kentucky public high school sophomores and juniors who took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) showed slight increases in at the sophomore and junior levels. The PSAT/NMSQT is scored on a scale of 0 to 80.

YEAR

GRADE LEVEL

NUMBER OF PSAT/NMSQT TEST-TAKERS

MEAN CRITICAL READING

MEAN MATHEMATICS

MEAN WRITING

2007

Sophomore

4,581

47.7

48.2

45.7

2008

Sophomore

4,071

47.4

48.0

46.6

2009

Sophomore

4,060

47.3

48.7

46.2

2010

Sophomore

4,509

46.6

47.3

45.7

2011

Sophomore

4,605

47.8

48.7

45.6

2007

Junior

9,525

49.6

49.4

47.2

2008

Junior

8,901

49.6

49.9

48.2

2009

Junior

8,354

49.7

50.8

48.1

2010

Junior

7,802

49.8

50.3

48.4

2011

Junior

7,939

50.9

51.2

48.7

 Some Kentucky public school districts offer the PSAT/NMSQT to students at the 9th-grade level, which may impact the number of students who participate as sophomores. Score information for 9th-grade students is not yet available from the College Board.

 The SAT is a three-hour test that measures verbal and mathematical reasoning skills students have developed over time and skills they need to be successful academically. Many colleges and universities use the SAT as one indicator of a student’s readiness to do college-level work. SAT scores are compared with the scores of other applicants and the accepted scores at an institution and can be used as a basis for awarding merit-based financial aid. Kentucky colleges and universities typically use the ACT as an admission requirement, which is reflected in the small percentage of students who take the SAT.

The SAT is scored on a scale of 200-800 (for math and verbal) and is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors. The test is administered several times a year.

The PSAT/NMSQT is co-sponsored by the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. It’s a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT Reasoning Test. The PSAT/NMSQT measures critical reading skills, mathematics problem-solving skills and writing skills.

 

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