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Maine Tops Nation in Increase of AP Achievement
Largest single-year increase in percentage of students scoring 3 or above
February 11, 2009
AUGUSTA – In its 5th annual AP Report to the Nation, released this month, the College Board reported that Maine experienced the largest single-year increase in the percentage of students scoring at least a 3 on at least one Advanced Placement exam. A score of 3 or above is predictive of college success, according to the College Board. Maine was also among the top six states for their three-year increases in the percentage of students scoring at least a 3 on an AP exam.
New research shows that AP courses and exams continue to prepare students for college success in many ways, including helping offset college costs. While the majority of students entering college today fail to earn a bachelor’s degree on schedule in four years, AP students are much more likely to graduate within four years. And studies continue to show that students scoring at least 3 on an AP exam experience greater academic success in college and graduate from college at higher rates than their comparable, non-AP peers.
“The increase in students scoring well in Maine is great news, but the scores alone are not what’s important,” said Maine Education Commissioner Susan A. Gendron. “It’s about the rigor of the courses and more students taking AP courses. Students who take AP courses are better prepared for college. Also, colleges look at AP courses as evidence of readiness for post-secondary studies.”
During their high school tenure, 19.3 percent of the class of 2008 earned a 3 or higher on one or more AP exam, compared to 15.2 percent for the nation. This was an increase in Maine from 17.3 percent last year and 13.5 percent in the class of 2003.
Overall participation in AP exams was even higher. In Maine, 31.9 percent of the public high school class of 2008 took at least one AP exam during high school, compared to 25.0 percent for the nation. The Maine Department of Education has worked with schools to increase participation in AP courses.
Maine schools are also succeeding in eliminating the equity gap in participation and achievement by race and ethnicity. The percentage of Hispanic/Latino and American Indian students scoring a 3 or higher was at least as high as their percentage of the student population. The equity gap for Black and African American students in Maine has not yet been closed.
In the area of low-income students, Maine is also improving. In the class of 2008, 508 low-income students took at least one AP exam compared to 401 in the class of 2007 and 254 in the class of 2003. The number of low-income students scoring a 3 or above also increased over the three years.
The most popular AP subject exam in Maine was English Literature (1, 746 exams), followed by U.S. History and English Language. Students also took AP exams in Calculus, Biology, Statistics, Chemistry, European History, Psychology, and U.S. Government & Politics.
For more information about the AP Report to the Nation, including Maine state reports, see http://www.collegeboard.com/html/aprtn/index.html .
For more information on the AP in Maine, see http://www.maine.gov/education/apip .
David Connerty-Marin, Director of Communications, 207-624-6880
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