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State AP Scores, Participation Rate Continue Increase

OLYMPIA – February 9, 2011 – The trend of Washington students taking and passing more Advanced Placement exams continued in 2010. During the past five years, scores have increased 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 18,296 Washington students (or 28.0 percent) in the class of 2010 took at least one AP exam, an increase of nearly 1,061 from the previous year and 4,982 from five years ago. Consequently, Washington’s percentage of 12th graders scoring three or greater, a score that generally qualifies for college credit, increased to 17.1 percent in 2010 from 12.9 five years ago.

That 4.2 percent increase placed Washington at 10th in the nation. The national average was 3 percent for the same time period.

“Advanced Placement is such a valuable program as we continue with our goal of helping all students be career and college ready,” State Superintendent Randy Dorn said.

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.

In addition, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has partnered its AP and Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs in order to open up access to AP for more students. Dorn believes this partnership, which is unique to Washington, will continue the trend of increased participation and college-ready scores.

“We have to continue to find ways to make these types of programs available to all students,” State Superintendent Randy Dorn said. “With the partnership of our AP and CTE programs, we know we have more students ready for that next step of life beyond high school.”

AP exams, which are offered in 36 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, world history, statistics, chemistry and European history.

Washington ranked 17th in the nation with the greatest number of 12th graders (17.1 percent) scoring three or greater on AP exams – Maryland was first at 26.4 percent. The national average was 16.9 percent.

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


About OSPI

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K-12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine Educational Service Districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual preference/orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.

Nathan Olson
OSPI Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015

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The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

Communications Manager
Nathan Olson
(360) 725-6015


   Updated 6/12/2015

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