Oct 07, 2014

State moves from 50th to 38th in test participation; scores for African-American students surge

BATON ROUGE, La. — The Louisiana Department of Education today announced data from the College Board shows the number of Louisiana students scoring 3 or higher on Advanced Placement (AP®) exams, earning college credit, has increased 24.6 percent, the highest in the nation, from 5,144 in 2013 to 6,407 in 2014. Additionally, Louisiana’s rate of increase in the percentage of junior and seniors scoring a 3 or higher ranks 8th in the country from 2013 to 2014, increasing 0.8 percent from 3.3 percent in 2013 to 4.1 percent in 2014.

The rising number of students participating in AP® is leading to dramatic increases for African-American students, who have realized increases of 30.7 percent in tests scoring 3 or higher from 541 in 2013 to 707 in 2014, and 89 percent over the last two years from 374 in 2012 to 707 in 2014. Likewise, the number of African-American high school students taking AP® tests increased 36 percent from 2,645 in 2013 to 3,598 in 2014, and 137 percent over the last two years from 1,516 in 2012.

“These compelling numbers signal a strong showing for our students. We still have a long way to go, but these increases show that we are closing the gap,” said State Superintendent John White. “This is a clear indication they are opting for the more challenging path, and have aspirations to improve their education and be better prepared for college. As we continue our transition to higher expectations, our educators will be crucial in continuing this momentum.”

The increases in scores are the result of a surge in AP® participation in Louisiana. The state is now ranked 38th for the percentage of high school junior and seniors taking an Advanced Placement (AP®) test. Just two years ago, in 2012, Louisiana was last in the nation. From 2013 to 2014, the percentage of Louisiana’s high school juniors and seniors taking AP® tests increased by 4 percentage points, to 13.6 percent, and more than doubled from 6.6 percent since 2012.

Louisiana continues to implement a multi-faceted, comprehensive strategy to support Advanced Placement teachers and students:

  • 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 in the graduation index.
  • Paying 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.
  • Providing increased access to AP® courses through the MFP-funded Supplemental Course Academy.
  • Providing funding for teachers and administrators taking part in summer AP® training, with more than 500 educators across the state participating this year.
  • Creating incentives for students to take more rigorous AP® courses by giving courses approved by the state additional weight in the calculation of the GPA qualifying students for TOPS college scholarships.
  • Providing more than 12,000 letters to the parents or guardians of students demonstrating a high likelihood of AP® success based on results from the 2014 ACT PLAN® Assessment taken sophomore year.

Advanced Placement® courses offer students the opportunity to earn college credit by taking rigorous courses in high school. Students who demonstrate mastery of the material on a national standardized end-of-course exam – a score of 3 or higher out of 5 – may earn college credit for the course, while still in high school.

According to the College Board, the typical student who scores 3 or higher on two AP exams has the potential to save, on average, nearly $1,779 at a public, four-year college. Based on this number, Louisiana public high school students have the potential to save nearly $5.7 million in tuition costs at public, four-year colleges.

Additionally, according to the College Board, a student who scores between and 3 and 5 on an AP exam is 12 to 27 percent more likely to graduate college on-time compared to academically matched peers who don’t take an AP test.

For more information on Advanced Placement®, please click

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