More seniors passed at least one AP test last year
— reported by the Houston Chronicle
The percentage of public high school seniors passing at least one Advanced Placement test increased in nearly every state last year, but racial gaps remained, the College Board reported Tuesday.
More students took AP exams, more students passed them, and average scores were steady from 2004 to 2005.
In the nation’s public schools, 14.1 percent of the class of 2005 passed at least one AP test, up from 13.2 percent a year before. In 2000, 10.2 percent of high school seniors passed a test. Texas trailed the national average with 13.7 percent of last year’s graduates passing one or more AP exams.
In the Houston Independent School District, students sat for a record 7,189 AP exams last spring, scoring high enough to earn college credit on half of those tests.
The increase in AP participation among HISD students is due mainly to the Spanish-language exam, which tests fluency. About 650 HISD students passed that exam last year, more than any other AP test.
HISD has struggled to get students to take, and pass, AP exams in core classes, particularly math and science. Only 52 HISD students passed the AP chemistry exam last year and 296 passed calculus tests, for example.
HISD has launched several initiatives in recent years aimed at boosting the numbers. The number of Houston’s juniors and seniors enrolled in AP classes increased 28 percent last year.
Nationally, the number of students passing at least one test increased by nearly 120,000 from 2000 to 2005. But black students continued to take the exams at lower rates than Anglo students, and their overall scores remained a level behind Anglos last year.
Black students make up 13.4 percent of the U.S. student population, but only 6.4 percent of the students taking AP exams. The percentage of Anglo and Latino students taking the tests more closely mirrored their numbers in the classroom.