University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

“AP”plause for Arkansas’ Advanced Placement Scores

In The View from the OEP on September 24, 2012 at 10:30 am

According to a press release by the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), more Arkansas students took Advanced Placement (AP) exams in the 2011-12 – and the state also saw an increase (by 11.8%) of those students scoring a 3, 4, or 5 on AP exams during the same school year.

Specifics regarding Advanced Placement include:
  • The number of test takers increased by 7.4 percent to 22,857 in 2012.
  • The number of tests administered increased by 8.6 percent to 39,548.
  • The number of tests with scores of 3, 4 or 5 (on a scale of 1 to 5) increased by 11.8 percent to 12,241.
  • Of the 3,069 African-American students (13.4 percent of test takers) taking AP 
exams, 469 students scored a 3, 4 or 5 on 4,964 exams for a 123.3 percent 
increase since 2007.
  • Of the 1,696 Hispanic students (7.4 percent of test takers) taking AP exams, 813 
students scored a 3, 4 or 5 on 2,945 exams for a 133.6 percent increase since 2007.

The College Board, which is involved in administrating the Advanced Placement Program across the US, also released information concerning scores for the SAT Reasoning Test, which is used in the college admissions process and was taken by about four percent of the 2012 graduating class. (The majority of Arkansas students take the ACT for college admissions.) Both participation in the SAT and average SAT scores decreased slightly from the previous year.

Regarding the 2012 SAT, the College Board reported that 994 public school students took the test for a 6.8 percent drop from 2007. Scores also fell slightly from 2011 to 2012. Though scores decreased in the state from last year, statewide SAT scores are still higher than the national average in all three categories.:
  • The state’s public school students’ mean score in Critical Reading decreased by three points to 565, as compared with a two-point drop in scores nationally to 491.
  • The state’s public school students’ mean score in Math fell six points to 567 as compared with a one-point drop in scores nationally of 505.
  • The state’s public school students’ mean score in Writing fell six points to 547 as compared with a one-point drop in scores nationally to 481.

Education Commissioner Dr. Tom Kimbrell said of these scores: “This is great news and evidence that Arkansas students are embracing the rigorous coursework and what it means to be ready for college and careers…Arkansas is making college and career readiness a priority for all students by adopting the Common Core State Standards—academic standards aligned with college- and career-ready expectations”

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