Maryland students have achieved yet another number one national ranking in Advanced Placement (AP) success. In fact, the College Board says Maryland's winning streak in the rigorous national exams is longer than previously reported.
The percentage of Maryland seniors who earned a score of 3 or higher on one or more AP exams reached 29.6 in 2012, the highest percentage in the nation and an increase over the 27.9 percent tallied in 2011, according to the College Board's "Annual AP Report to the Nation." A score of 3 or better is the threshold at which many higher education institutions award college credit for high school students in an AP assessment.
The College Board said this was the seventh consecutive year that Maryland has led the nation in AP success. Last year, College Board data determined that Maryland led the nation for the fourth consecutive year, but a review of state enrollment data from the past decade caused the organization to recalculate its findings.
"Because of the better choices we've made together to invest in our children's future, we've built the number one public schools in the nation," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "Thanks to our hardworking students, our dedicated educators and our outstanding parents, Maryland's high school students have achieved the nation's best performance on AP exams for seven years in a row – outperforming their peers and gaining the skills they need to learn, earn, and grow in the future."
College Board President David Coleman congratulated Maryland on its long run of success in the Advanced Placement.
"On behalf of the College Board, I want to thank the state's leadership for its vision, determination, and courage," Coleman said. "One of the greatest challenges for educators over the next few years will be to ensure excellence and equity at the heights of academic achievement, and Maryland is well ahead of the game."
The percentage of Maryland graduates scoring a 3 or better on the exams has nearly doubled in the past decade. In 2002, 16.5 percent of Maryland's graduating seniors received at least a 3 on an AP exam.
Maryland placed second to Florida in the total percentage of seniors completing an AP exam (48.2 percent to Florida's 52.9). The percentage of Maryland seniors taking an AP exam stood at just 23.6 for the class of 2002.
"We are determined to graduate Maryland students who are ready for either college or the workforce, and the AP program provides students with a strong foundation upon which to build their future," said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery. "Our students continue to make progress, but there is plenty of room for improvement. We must eliminate gaps in achievement between student subgroups, making certain all of our students have outstanding opportunities."
The Maryland State Department of Education has worked in close partnership with the College Board to strengthen the AP program by increasing access to all students – especially to students from under-represented groups. The program also has provided ongoing professional development to teachers, school counselors, and administrators. The effort has paid enormous dividends: all 24 Maryland school systems have at least 20 percent participation rate among high school seniors, and 16 districts have 30 percent or greater.
Participation is important, but so is student success on the exams. Five Maryland systems – Anne Arundel, Calvert, Frederick, Howard, and Montgomery—had at least 30 percent of their graduating classes scoring a 3 or better on an AP exam. The College Board placed Montgomery, along with Carroll and Harford counties, on its third annual Honor Roll for increasing AP success at the same time those systems increased participation.
"Advanced Placement Report to the Nation: 2013," the College Board's ninth annual analysis of the college-level assessment program, gives many high marks to efforts taking place in Maryland schools. For example:
- Maryland's 13.1 point increase over the past 10 years in the percentage of graduates scoring a 3 or betterleads the nation.
- Maryland leads the nation in the percentage of students taking AP assessments in the mathematics and science disciplines.
- Both participation and achievement on AP tests has been increasing for Hispanic students in Maryland. Hispanics accounted for 8.8 percent of the Maryland graduating class last year, 8.3 percent of the seniors who scored 3 or higher on the AP exam were Hispanic.
- Maryland also has seen a big increase in the percentage of Black/African American students having success on the AP assessments. A record 11.4 percent of students receiving a grade of 3 or better in Maryland were Black/African American. That percentage ranks second to Georgia (13.6) among states in the nation.
- In raw numbers, there were 12,019 Maryland students who took an AP exam in high school in 2002, and 8,414 received a 3 or better. By last year, 26,640 students took an AP exam, and 16,327 scored a 3 or better.
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. Complete results are available at http://apreport.collegeboard.org.