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Washington Outperforms Most States on AP Scores

College Board estimates Washington test takers could save $49 million in college costs.

OLYMPIA — February 22, 2017 — During the past 10 years, about 6,700 more Washington state students passed at least one Advanced Placement (AP) test, according to a report released today by the College Board.

The increase translates into a 9.0-percentage-point increase, which ranks 11th in the nation.

Passing means achieving a score of 3 or higher, which generally qualifies for college credit.

“The increase in students passing AP exams is a testament to the fantastic educators we have around the state,” said Chris Reykdal, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “And a passing score can earn students college credit, which ends up saving them money in tuition down the road.”

College Board’s report shows that 37.3 percent of graduates in 2016 took at least one AP exam during high school. By comparison, 36.0 percent took at least one AP exam in 2015 and 22.1 percent in 2006.

College Board offers AP exams in 38 subjects. Students take the tests in May and receive scores on a scale from 1 to 5. Washington’s participation rate continues to rise, along with the number of students who score at least a 3 on an exam. In 2016, 22.5 percent of Washington’s graduating seniors scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP test, an increase of 0.7 percentage points from 2015 and 9.0 percentage points from 2006.

Honor Roll Districts
College Board’s AP Honor Roll recognizes school districts that increase access to AP coursework and the percentage of students who score a 3 or higher. Washington’s public school honor roll districts include:

  • Bellevue
  • Lake Washington
  • Methow Valley
  • Ridgefield
  • Riverview

Top 10 Tests
The most popular AP exams in Washington are (in order):

  1. English Language and Composition
  2. United States History
  3. English Literature and Composition
  4. World History
  5. Calculus AB
  6. United States Government and Politics
  7. Biology
  8. Statistics
  9. Psychology
  10. Chemistry

More Information

Visit the Advanced Placement page on the OSPI website to learn more.


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 Chris Reykdal, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and improve student achievement on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.

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Nathan Olson
Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015 |

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 2/22/2017

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