SuperTalk Mississippi

More students taking and scoring higher on AP exams

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More than 22% of Mississippi public high school students in the graduating class of 2018 took an Advanced Placement (AP) exam, according to the College Board’s AP Cohort Data Report for Class of 2018. The participation rate is roughly 2% more than the class of 2017.

AP courses are college-level courses offered by trained high school teachers. Mississippi public school students increased their participation in AP courses while increasing performance on the exams. College Board results showed 22.3 percent (5,907) of graduates took at least one AP exam, and 6.7 percent (1,765) earned a qualifying score of 3 or higher.

The class of 2018 in Mississippi took a total of 13,178 AP exams during their high school experience – 972 more than the class of 2017. Among all exams taken, 30.4 percent earned qualifying scores.

Starting in fall 2019, every AP score of 3, 4 or 5 will entitle students to earn at least three college credits at any Mississippi public university or community college. State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Carey Wright said the new policy has the potential to save Mississippi families millions of dollars on college tuition. In May 2018, Mississippi public and private high school students took 5,665 AP exams that achieved a qualifying AP score. This translates to a potential savings of $4.8 million in tuition for students and their families.

“Achieving a qualifying score on an AP exam is evidence that a student is prepared to master college-level material,” said Wright. “The AP experience not only exposes students to the rigor of college, it can help students and their families reduce the cost of college.”

Also starting in fall 2019, AP exam registration will move from the spring to the fall to help students commit earlier to taking the exam. The College Board will also offer online resources for teachers and students.

Research shows AP students are better prepared for college and more likely to graduate college in four years than non-AP peers. Students earning college credit can save what they would otherwise have to pay for another year of college.

Wright added that Mississippi has room to grow the participation of low-income students in AP classes. The College Board says that 74.9 percent of Mississippi students in the class of 2018 were eligible for free or reduced lunch, but only 36.3 percent of those students used a fee reduction to pay for an AP exam. Among students who used the fee reduction, 21 percent achieved a qualifying score.

The Pass Christian School District was named to the College Board’s 9th Annual AP District Honor Roll, which recognizes districts that have increased access to AP for underrepresented students while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning AP exam scores of 3 or higher.

“Increasing access to AP courses and exams expands opportunities for students to achieve at higher levels,” said Wright. “Students who take AP courses are better prepared for college, and colleges and universities in Mississippi and nationally value AP achievement.”

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