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Wisconsin is best in the Midwest on AP report to nation

State’s Advanced Placement participation improves for all student groups

From the Department of Public Instruction

Wisconsin’s participation in Advanced Placement (AP) testing increased across all student groups, establishing the state as the best in the 13-state Midwest Region for graduates taking an AP exam during high school.

AP report to the nation
Public school students

% of graduates taking AP exam

Percent earning grades 3-5 16.5
% of graduates taking AP exam 24.9
Percent earning grades 3-5

In the Annual AP Report to the Nation, by the College Board, Wisconsin had 14,547 (23.9%) of its public school graduates take an AP exam while in high school, with 16.5% earning a passing grade of three or higher. In the Midwest Region, only Illinois and Minnesota had more than 20% of their graduates taking exams.

“We have much to be proud of,” said State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster. “Our work to bring rigor and relevance to high school through advanced coursework is building success. More students are taking and passing AP exams. AP provides a rigorous academic experience that supports our efforts to raise achievement for all students and close the achievement gap.”

Participation in AP testing by low-income students increased to 4.9% of all public school test takers in 2007, up 0.2 of a point from last year and 2.3 points from 2002. The state is expanding opportunities for students from economically disadvantaged families to request test fee waivers to ensure that economic circumstance does not block a student’s opportunity to demonstrate academic achievement through AP.

Students of color represented 9.1% of all Wisconsin test-takers in 2007, up 0.1 of a point from the previous year. Overall, 22,656 public school students in the state took 36,094 AP exams during the 2006-07 school year, posting a passing rate of 67.8%. Nationally, 1.2 million public school students took 2.1 million AP exams last school year. The passing rate nationally was 57.2%.

The College Board, in partnership with the nation’s colleges and universities, offers assessments of college-level learning in 37 subject areas. These AP exams are intended as end-of-course assessments for classes designed to have a level of quality and academic intensity similar to college-level work. Scored from one to five, grades of three or higher are considered passing and qualify students for college credit, placement, or both at most colleges and universities. This is the fourth year the College Board has reanalyzed its summer AP data to provide a winter report focused on high school graduates.

The Department of Public Instruction, using a grant from the National Governors Association, worked with nine pilot districts over the past two years to expand AP coursework. A key strategy from that grant, vertical teams, is expanding across the state to help districts build capacity for AP coursework.

Vertical teams bring together subject area teachers, typically in middle school and high school, to develop greater continuity and depth in the curriculum to ensure that students gain the foundational skills they need to succeed in more rigorous coursework in high school and beyond.

“Through cooperative efforts to improve access to Advanced Placement, educators also are focusing on inclusion so that all students can benefit from a rich and rigorous curriculum,” Burmaster said. “Our goal is to provide students with the concepts, skills, and academic habits that will allow them to engage in demanding coursework.”

Posted on February 15, 2008

Education News