State AP Scores, Participation Rate Continue Increase
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State AP Scores, Participation Rate Continue Increase

OLYMPIA – February 10, 2010 - During the past five years, the scores of Washington students continues to increase on Advanced Placement exams even as the number of exams taken has risen, according to a national report released today.

The College Board’s sixth annual “AP Report to the Nation” shows that 17,274 Washington students (or 26.7 percent) in the class of 2009 took at least one AP exam, an increase of nearly 1,000 from the previous year and more than 7,000 from five years ago. Consequently, Washington’s percentage of 12th graders scoring three or greater, which in most cases qualifies for college credit, increased to 16 percent in 2009 from 11.1 five years ago.

That 4.9 percent increase tied Washington with four other states (Arkansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Oregon) for seventh highest. The national average was 3.2 for the same time period.

The trends of increased participation and college-ready scores also held true for all subgroups, including black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian and Pacific Islander, white and low-income students.

“It’s important that we continue to open up access to more AP exams to all students,” State Superintendent Randy Dorn said. “And as we do that, the numbers are certainly impressive as more students are participating and achieving.”

The state’s fastest growing population, Hispanic students, might be the best example of those trends. In 2009, 10 percent of the state’s graduating class were Hispanic, and they accounted for 7.4% of percent of AP candidates. Also, 6.2 percent earned a score of three or higher.

AP exams, which are offered in 37 subjects, are given each May and are scored on a scale from one to five. The most popular AP exams in Washington are (in order): English language, U.S. history, English literature, calculus AB, U.S. government and politics, biology, statistics, world history, European history and chemistry.

Washington ranked 16th in the nation with the greatest number of 12th graders (16 percent) scoring three or greater on AP exams – Maryland was first at 24.8 percent. The national average was 15.9 percent.

For more information and to view the “AP Report to the Nation,” including state-by-state results, please visit

Access to Advanced Placement

The following is a breakdown of the overall percentage of the state’s student population by race/ethnicity and the percentage of AP participation:

  Overall % AP %
Black 4.8% 2.7%
Asian/Pac. Isl. 9.0% 14.9%
Hispanic 10.0% 7.4%
Am. Indian 2.1% 1.0%
White 72.1% 67.4%

For Information:

Chris Barron
(360) 725-6032

   Updated 4/8/2010

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