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Percentage of students taking and passing AP exams increases again

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February 22, 2017 – The percentage of Georgia graduates scoring 3 or higher on an Advanced Placement (AP) exam during high school increased again this year, even as participation in the exams increased, according to data released today by the College Board.

Georgia has the sixteenth-highest AP pass rate in the nation, with 22.4 percent of the class of 2016 scoring 3 or higher on at least one AP exam during high school, and is one of just 17 states to exceed the national average.

“Georgia’s class of 2016 recorded an excellent performance on their Advanced Placement exams, and Georgia’s teachers and schools continued to expand access to this valuable program to more students. That’s great news for students and families,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “The AP program allows us to expand access to high-quality, relevant coursework for Georgia’s students. I’m pleased to see that access expanding to more students, and proud that Georgia remains among the top tier for AP performance in the United States.” 

The percentage of Georgia graduates scoring 3 or higher on an AP exam rose by 0.8 percentage points from 2015 to 2016. The percentage of graduates taking at least one AP exam rose from 40.1 percent in 2015 to 40.3 percent in 2016 – one of the highest participation rates in the nation.

Since 2006, Georgia has seen a 7.7 percentage point increase in the percentage of graduates scoring 3 or higher on an AP exam. Participation has nearly doubled in that time, rising from 26.3 percent of graduates in 2006 to 40.3 percent in 2016.

Students typically earn at least three college credits for each AP score of 3 or higher, and Georgia students recorded 98,526 of those scores in 2016. At an average college credit rate of $281.77 per hour, this represents a potential cost savings of $83,285,013 for Georgia’s students and families.

Georgia is continuing to make strides toward increasing equitable participation in AP exams for low-income students. In Georgia, 62.1 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Among the class of 2016, 32.7 percent of AP exam takers used an AP exam fee reduction (eligibility for this fee reduction is based on the eligibility threshold for free and reduced-price lunch). Nationally, 30.1 percent of AP exam takers used an AP exam fee reduction.

 Ten Georgia school districts were named members of the 7th Annual AP District Honor Roll, a list of districts honored for increasing access to AP coursework while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP exams. Those districts are (asterisks indicate the district has achieved the honor for multiple years):

•         Atlanta Public Schools*

•         Bryan County Schools

•         Buford City Schools*

•         Butts County Schools*

•         Cherokee County Schools*

•         Forsyth County Schools*

•         Gwinnett County Schools*

•         Harris County Schools

•         Houston County Schools*

•         Walton County Schools

In addition to the AP District Honor Roll, Gwinnett County Schools was named a College Board Advanced Placement District of the Year among the nation’s largest districts – defined as 50,000 or more students — for expanding access to AP courses while simultaneously improving AP exam performance.