Jul 30, 2013

Increase in college credits earned is greatest in state history

BATON ROUGE, La. — Today, Governor Bobby Jindal and State Superintendent John White announced that the number of college credits earned on Advanced Placement (AP) exams has increased by more than 1,000 credits or 25 percent over the past year—the greatest individual increase in state history. Louisiana high school students scored high enough to earn college credit on 5,144 AP exams in 2013.

The credits earned by students who scored a 3, 4 or 5 on the AP exams are transferrable to nearly any college in the nation, and Louisiana leads the country in growth of number of exams taken. 10,529 students took the AP exam in 2013, which is 4,000 more students than last year.

Governor Bobby Jindal said, “Since we took office, we have focused on reforming and improving our education system to ensure that every child in Louisiana has access to a great education. Earlier this year, we announced that Louisiana’s graduation rate has reached an all-time high. Today’s announcement that a growing number of our state’s high school students are already earning college credit before they even leave for school is more proof that our hard work is paying off.

“By eliminating ineffective programs and investing in ones that work, we have no doubt improved outcomes for our students. While today’s announcement is great news, we will not stop until every child in Louisiana has the opportunity to get a great education and the skills they need to be successful.”

Promoting Advanced Placement is an aspect of Louisiana Believes, the state’s plan to ensure all students are college or career ready. AP offers students the opportunity to earn college credit during high school by completing rigorous coursework and demonstrating proficiency on a national, standardized end-of-course exam. AP is a national hallmark of college-going success with research showing that students who complete AP coursework are better prepared for college-level work, are more likely to continue their education beyond their freshman year in college, and are more likely to graduate within four to five years. Students participating in AP classes also stand out in the college admissions process and are more competitive in qualifying for scholarships.

To ensure that Louisiana students are provided with the best opportunity to earn college credit through AP exams, that state has devised a strategy to support its educators and students. This strategy includes:

  • Linking AP results to school accountability by recognizing a passing AP score (3 to 5) as the highest level of achievement earned by a cohort graduate, earning the maximum 150 points toward the graduation index.
  • Providing funding to pay for test fees for all students taking AP exams who meet the criteria for low-income students and for students taking exams new to their school, because every child should have the opportunity to succeed.
  • Supporting the Course Choice program, which provides increased access to AP courses.
  • Doubling the number of teachers and administrators taking part in summer AP training, with more than 700 educators across the state participating this year.

“Advanced Placement is the highest indicator of college success, and rather than accept our past ranking of 49th, Louisiana educators and students have risen to the challenge to say that our kids are just as capable and smart as kids anywhere in this country,” said State Superintendent John White.

Louisiana is poised to continue its success by working to emphasize the value of AP exams moving forward. This session, Governor Jindal signed into law legislation (SB202) that creates incentives for students to take more rigorous AP courses by giving courses approved by the state additional weight in the calculation of the TOPS GPA. TOPS GPA determines not only a student's eligibility for the TOPS award, but also for additional financial incentives. This ends the incentive to take easier courses in order to get a higher GPA, helping to contribute to the continued growth of AP in our state.

SB 202 also better aligns coursework in different programs of study—such as the Core Four Diploma course sequence and TOPS core sequence—to ensure that students going to four-year colleges have taken a true college preparatory curriculum while in high school.

In addition, Senate Resolution 49 requests the Board of Regents to develop a uniform policy regarding the acceptance of college credit hours earned through AP exams. Implementing this policy would ensure fairness and consistency for students and promotes the seamless transfer of posts-secondary credits earned by students.

Vice President of the Board of Secondary and Elementary Education Jim Garvey said, "These results are another example of Louisiana's students, teachers and schools showing us what great success they can achieve when we aim high. Today's high-demand for jobs increasingly requires at least some education beyond high school, and these students are accelerating their achievement of what we want for all children in Louisiana — a steady career and family-supporting income."

Schools across the state have emphasized the importance of AP for students and, as a result, have seen an increase in participation and success. See below for the top ten high schools for the percentage of students scoring at 3 or higher on AP exams.


Total Students Taking AP Exams

# of Students Scoring 3+

% of Students Scoring 3+

West Monroe High School




Benjamin Franklin High School




Haynes Academy School for Advanced Studies




Caddo Parish Magnet High School




Mandeville High School




Baton Rouge Magnet High School




Fontainebleau High School




Lusher Charter School




Airline High School




Zachary High School




Top 10 schools in AP participation:


Total Students Taking AP Exams 

# Students Scoring 3+

Benjamin Franklin High School 



St. Amant High School



Pineville High School



Alfred M. Barbe High School 



Baton Rouge Magnet High School 



Lafayette High School 



Central Lafourche High School 



Sulphur High School 



Hahnville High School 



Zachary High School 



Top 10 schools in performance growth from 2012 to 2013:

 School % of Students Scoring 3+ in 2012   % of Students Scoring 3+ in 2013 Change in Percent 
West Monroe High School  70.5%  87.5%  17.0% 
Westgate High School 0.0%  15.5%  15.5% 
Woodlawn High School 20.8%  35.7%  14.9% 
North DeSoto High School 0.0%  14.5%  14.5% 
Zachary High School 52.8%  65.3%  12.5% 
Benton High School 23.6%  35.6%  12.0% 
Live Oak High School 46.7%  58.2%  11.5% 
Belle Chasse High School 41.9%  52.8%  10.9% 
Caddo Parish Magnet High School 71.0%  79.9%  8.9% 
Sam Houston High School 17.9%  24.8%  7.0% 

Schools that saw over half of their students pass AP exams:

 School # Students Tested  # Students Scoring 3+  % of Students Scoring 3+ 
West Monroe High School  56  49  87.5%
Benjamin Franklin High School  447 375  83.9%
Haynes Academy School for Advanced Studies 172 140  81.4%
Caddo Parish Magnet High School 144 115  79.9%
Mandeville High School 182 144  79.1%
Baton Rouge Magnet High School 249 192  77.1%
Fontainebleau High School 81 59  72.8%
Lusher Charter School 193 131  67.9%
Airline High School 101 66  65.3%
Zachary High School 199 130  65.3%
Northside High School 83 49  59.0%
Live Oak High School 98 57  58.2%
Ruston High School 102 57  55.9%
Thomas Jefferson High School for Advanced Studies 100 54  54.0%
Bolton High School 140 74  52.9%
Belle Chasse High School 53 28  52.8%
Dutchtown High School 158 83  52.5%
Alfred M. Barbe High School 294 152  51.7%
Lafayette High School 239 122  51.0%

For district and school level results, please click here.

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