Ala. gaining in Advanced Placement® testing

Montgomery, AL The Alabama Department of Education says the state's public schools are gaining in Advanced Placement® (AP), citing a report released Wednesday by the College Board. AP is a rigorous academic program that offers high school students the opportunity for college-level study with more than 30 wide-ranging courses.

"Performing well on an AP exam means more than just mastering the material in a particular subject: it is a pathway to success in college," stated Jenny Krugman, College Board Southern Region Vice President. "Research consistently shows that students who score a 3 or higher on AP exams typically experience greater academic success in college and are more likely to graduate on time than otherwise comparable non-AP peers."

Alabama students' AP access and success continue to increase. More students than ever are making 3-5 AP exam scores, said the ADE. In fact, more Alabama students are succeeding on AP exams (making scores of 3-5) than the number of students taking AP courses in the past.

According to the 7th Annual AP Report to the Nation, from 2006 to 2010:

  • Alabama's student test-takers have grown 125 percent.
  • The number of AP exams administered to Alabama students has grown 144 percent (some students take multiple exams).
  • Alabama students' AP exam scores of 3-5 have increased 79 percent.

More Alabama students are earning qualifying scores (3 or higher) and are more and more prepared to succeed in – not just attend – college.







% of Test-Takers

19.5 %

16.3 %

7.8 %

% of 3-5 Exam Scores

9 %

7.5 %

4.2 %






% of Test-Takers

18.8 %

19.7 %

14.6 %

% of 3-5 Exam Scores

8.3 %

7.6 %

6.6 %


(* based on free and reduced lunch)





% of Test-Takers

14 %

11.7 %

4.8 %

% of 3-5 Exam Scores

7.4 %

5.4 %

3 %

"Expanding Advanced Placement programs is critical to providing a world-class education for our children," said State Superintendent of Education Joe Morton. "Through A+ College Ready, the Alabama AP Initiative, and ACCESS [Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators & Students Statewide], we are able to offer more AP classes to more students, but this is just the beginning. We must continue to expand AP access for all students, including traditionally underserved students. In Alabama and across the nation, a wider and more ethnically diverse student population continues to achieve AP success."

What the research says:

  • AP students qualify for college scholarship dollars. AP is used as a criterion for determining scholarship recipients by 31 percent of colleges and universities.
  • AP students are more likely than their peers to earn a bachelor's degree in four years. Only 26.5 percent of U.S. public college students graduate in four years.
  • Four-year graduation rates of AP English Language students are 67 percent higher than their non-AP peers.
  • Minority and low-income AP students have higher college graduation rates than their non-AP peers.
  • AP math and science students perform at much higher levels in intermediate college math and science courses than non-AP students with the same SAT scores.
  • AP Calculus students in the United States – with 3-5 AP exam scores – are ranked first in the world.
  • Up to 48 percent of African-American AP students choose STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) college majors compared to from 2 to 9 percent of non-AP African-American students.
  • Up to 47 percent of Hispanic AP students choose STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) college majors compared to from 2 to 8 percent of non-AP Hispanic students.
  • Up to 25 percent of female AP students choose STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) college majors compared to from 1 to 6 percent of non-AP female students.

INFORMATION SOURCE: Alabama Department of Education