Florida Students Improve, Perform Well On Advanced Placement Exams

A report recently released by the College Board states that more than a quarter of Florida high school seniors are scoring high enough in Advanced Placement classes to earn college credit.

The passage rate of Florida's 2013 graduating students was 27%. These students scored a 3 or higher on an AP test, which are scored on a scale of 1 to 5. Florida's rate is the fifth highest in the nation and a huge increase from the state's performance of 15.3 % a decade prior.

Patricia Levesque, executive director of the Foundation for Florida's Future said, "Florida teachers are challenging their students, and their students are answering that challenge,"

Nationwide, 20.1 percent of seniors scored a 3 or higher on an AP test at some point during high school. Advanced Placement exams are given in 34 subjects. The classes are designed to be rigorous and proponents say they help students transition into college-level courses.

As Education News previously reported the number of students in the U.S. who are taking AP exams has increased dramatically over the last decade. Florida is not alone in this trend — the number of students taking an AP exam during high school has increased from 25 % in 2003, to 53% in 2013.

"Florida is a national leader in providing students access to college-level coursework while they are in high school," Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart said.

The Miami Herald reports that there are gaps in the performance of minority and low income students. Black students make up 20.6% of those taking AP exams, but only 7.3% of the students score a 3 or higher. Out of the students passing the exam, only 31% are considered low income. The rate of low income and Hispanic students who scored higher than a 3 on an AP exam was higher than in 2012.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush praised the state for helping to close "the achievement gap between white and Hispanic students successfully completing AP exams". He says the state still has farther to go before all children graduate "ready to succeed in college or their chosen careers".

Connecticut students had the 2nd highest advanced placement scores in the nation. Close to 29% of the 14,000 graduating students in the 2013 class scored a 3 or higher on an AP exam. Maryland was ranked number one in the country.

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