More high school seniors pass Advanced Placement tests in 2005
Compiled from staff and wire reports
Published February 8, 2006
WASHINGTON - More public high school seniors took and passed Advanced Placement tests in nearly every state last year, but racial gaps remained.
In the nation's public schools, 14.1 percent of the class of 2005 passed at least one AP test, up from 13.2 percent a year before, the College Board reported Tuesday. In 2000, 10.2 percent of high school seniors passed a test.
Average scores were steady from 2004 to 2005, even though more students took the exams.
"It is our hope that the AP program can serve as an anchor for increasing rigor in our schools," College Board president Gaston Caperton said. "Rigor can be maintained while increasing student participation."
President Bush called for increasing access to AP courses in his State of the Union speech last week as a way to improve American competitiveness in math and science.
Florida continues to rank among the top states in the percentage of its high school students taking, and passing, rigorous Advanced Placement classes, according to the report. In 2005, 32.9 percent of Florida's graduating seniors took AP tests in high school, up from 22.7 percent in 2000 and moving Florida from fourth to second, behind only New York, according to the College Board's annual AP Report to the Nation.
Nationally, the numbers moved from 15.9 to 22.7 percent.
The percentage of Florida seniors passing at least one of the college-level tests grew from 13.5 percent to 18.5 percent, keeping Florida in 8th place behind New York, Maryland, Utah, California, Virginia, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
"We're seeing proof that Florida's move toward more rigorous coursework is paying off," Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said in a statement.
"Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida Legislature's strong commitment to increase access to Advanced Placement courses continues to pay off," Caperton said.
The percentage of AP test-takers in Florida who are African-American has moved from 8.7 percent to 10 percent since 2000. The percentage of Hispanic test-takers jumped from 19.6 percent to 23.4 percent. Florida is one of only two states where the percentage of Hispanic AP test-takers is greater than the percentage of Hispanic students in the school system.
The number of students passing at least one AP test increased by nearly 120,000 from 2000 to 2005. But black students continued to take the exams at lower rates than white students, and their overall scores remained a level behind whites last year.
Nationwide, black students make up 13.4 percent of the student population, but only 6.4 percent of the students taking AP exams.
Times staff writer Ron Matus contributed to this report, which includes information from the Associated Press.
[Last modified February 8, 2006, 01:16:09]
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