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More Maine students taking AP courses, exams
Parallels emphasis on college-readiness
February 8, 2007
CORRECTION: The press release below, originally sent Thursday, Feb. 8, incorrectly described the percentage of students in Maine taking the AP exam; it should have been reported as the percentage of students in the Class of 2006, not the percentage of all high school students. The information is corrected in two locations: the third paragraph, “In Maine,” and the fourth paragraph from the end of the release, “Generally…”
AUGUSTA – The number of students in Maine participating in Advanced Placement courses and exams increased significantly, according to a report released Tuesday by the College Board.
Between 2000 and 2006, participation rose by 8.8 percent in Maine, compared to 8.3 percent nationally. In all, 4,648 Maine public school students took a total of 6,776
AP exams in 2006, 353 more students than the previous year.
AP exams are given in 37 subject areas. Students who take AP courses in high school and score well on the AP exam may receive college credit for those courses, allowing them to take more advanced courses in a subject area.
“We need to do more than simply graduate students from high school,” said Susan Gendron, Maine’s Education Commissioner. “We need to prepare them with college-level skills and material so they are prepared to succeed in college.”
Gendron said the effort on AP participation supports the state’s effort to graduate every Maine student “ready for college, career, and citizenship.” That initiative has included Maine’s first-in-the-nation requirement that all high school juniors take the SAT test, which is now used as Maine’s high school assessment.
“The research shows that students who take Advanced Placement courses do better in college and are more likely to graduate college,” said Gendron. “Even for the students who do not score high enough on the exam to get college credit, they are taking high-level courses that better prepare them for college.”
Maine has worked intensively in recent years to get more students to take an AP exam, and also to ensure that income is not an obstacle to taking the test. The U.S. Department of Education provides a grant to enable Maine to pay the exam fee for low-income students since 2001.
The U.S. Department of Education and the National Governors Association provided grants to support Maine’s development of a mentoring system to expand opportunities for all Maine students to take an AP course and the exam. The College Board cited Maine as one of 12 states that eliminated equity gaps among Latino students.
“We’re committed to expanding AP participation in every high school in Maine and ensuring equal opportunities for all students,” said Wanda Monthey, AP program coordinator for Maine.
Generally 50 to 70 percent of Maine students in the Class of 2006 who took an AP Exam received a passing score (3 or above on a scale of 1 to 5).
The most popular AP Exams in Maine were in the Social Sciences (11.5% of tests taken), English (11.4%), Math (8.1%), and Physical Sciences (3.5%). Females comprised 57.4% of the test-takers in Maine, compared to 57% in the nation. This represented an increase of 13.3% in female test-takers in Maine from last year, compared to an increase of 3.8% for males.
A greater percentage of Maine students graduating in 2006 (39%) stayed in the state to attend college than did their counterparts in the other New England states, with the exception of Massachusetts, where 51% of the 2006 graduates attended college in the state.
A report showing the number and subject area of AP courses offered at Maine high schools can be found here.
David Connerty-Marin, Director of Communications, Maine Department of Education, 207-624-6880
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