LEXINGTON, Ky. - More than 12,000 Kentucky public high school graduates took an Advanced Placement Exam last year according to new data released Wednesday by the College Board. That represents a 74 percent increase from the graduating class in Kentucky five years ago.
AP courses are more rigorous than typical high school classes and many universities offer students college credit for earning a qualifying score of three or higher on the end-of-year exam.
“As higher education institutions have become more competitive and have begun to request to see AP Scores, there’s been a desire among students, a commitment to not just taking the AP course but to learning the material at a deep and rich level so that they would be successful on the AP exam,” says Trevor Packer, senior vice president of the Advanced Placement Program.
About half of the Kentucky students who take an AP exam earn a score of 3, 4, or 5. The most popular courses are English Language, English Literature, and U.S. History.
The Commonwealth ranks above the national average in the increase of public high school graduates earning a passing score. Ten years ago, 6.6 percent of Kentucky’s graduates earned a score of 3 or higher on an AP exam, compared to 15.6 percent in last year's graduating class.
College Board President David Coleman says states across the country can do a better job of getting more students to sign up for AP courses by looking at their PSAT scores.
“Based on that measure of kids who take the PSAT and show their readiness to do well in AP, 300,000 students in the class of 2012 who had the potential to do well in AP did not take that course.”
Coleman says the largest area of opportunity for more AP participants is among minorities and low-income students.