MCPS Students Set New High Mark for Participation on AP Exams

December 13, 2010
Strong Performance on 2010 Exams Far Outpaces the State and the Nation

   Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students in 2010 took a record-setting number of Advanced Placement (AP) exams, and produced strong results on the rigorous, college-level tests.

   Students in 2010 took 29,854 AP exams, up from last year’s all-time high of 28,575 exams. Students also earned a college-ready score of 3 or higher on 71.7 percent of the exams they took, with students of all races and ethnicities setting a record high for the number of MCPS test takers receiving a college-ready score.

   The performance of MCPS students significantly outpaced that of their public school peers in Maryland, where 59.6 percent of the exams taken earned a score of 3 or higher, and in the nation, where 55.8 percent of the exams scored college-ready.
   “Once again, our students have demonstrated that they want to take challenging courses and are prepared to succeed in doing college-level work,” said Christopher S. Barclay, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education. “These outstanding results on the 2010 Advanced Placement exams also provide one more piece of solid evidence that the emphasis on rigorous course taking in MCPS is the right thing for students.”

   The AP exam performance of African American students in 2010 is especially noteworthy. Forty-six percent of the AP exams taken by African American MCPS students earned scores of 3 or higher, compared to 27.9 percent in Maryland and 25 percent across the nation.

   MCPS’ African American students represent only about 10 percent of the African American students in Maryland, but account for nearly 40 percent of all 2010 AP exams receiving a score of 3 or higher.

   Hispanic students in MCPS also outperformed their peers in Maryland and the nation on AP exams, with 54.9 percent of the exams they took earning a 3 or higher, compared to 52.1 percent of exams taken by Hispanic students in Maryland and 40.5 percent in the nation.

   Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of the Montgomery County Public Schools, noted that MCPS’ African American and Hispanic students consistently outperform their peers in the state and the nation.

   “These strong results for our African-American and Hispanic students reaffirm that our commitment to provide access to rigorous courses to all students is the most sure-fire way to raise the academic bar, close the achievement gap, and prepare all students for success in college and the workplace,” Dr. Weast said.

   Scoring a 3 or higher on AP exams is an important milestone in the 7 Keys to College Readiness, a clear set of research-based benchmarks that MCPS uses to guide parents and students to success in college and the workplace.

   Research on previous MCPS graduating classes has shown that AP exam participation and performance is associated with a greater likelihood of four important outcomes:  college readiness, college enrollment, college persistence, and college degree completion.

   Data on MCPS graduates from the classes of 2001–2004 demonstrate that:

·  More than 76 percent of the students who scored a 3 or higher on an AP exam received a college degree within six years of graduation. This was three times higher than the rate of students who did not take an AP exam (25.3%).

More than 59 percent of students who took an AP exam but scored lower than a 3 received a college degree within six years of graduation, showing that just taking AP classes correlates to greater success in college.

·  Among African American students, more than 64 percent of those who scored a three or higher on an AP exam received a college degree within six years of graduation. That is 46 points higher than the rate among African American students who did not take an exam (18%). 

·  Among Hispanic students, 48 percent who scored a 3 or higher on an AP exam received a college degree within six years of graduation. That is nearly five times the rate among students who did not take an AP exam.

AP Memo to the Board of Education

AP Charts

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