Connecticut ranked second in 2013, and Virginia followed
closely behind in third place, with more than 28 percent of its
graduates obtaining a 3 or better on the tests, which are graded on a
scale of 1 to 5.
The District — which is difficult to compare to
states because it has an entirely urban school system — saw the number
of students who pass at least one AP exam climb more than 50 percent
since 2010. The city led the nation for its proportion of test-takers
who passed at least one AP test and are African American; almost 34
percent of District seniors who passed an AP exam in 2013 were black —
down from 42 percent the year before but still well above the national
average of 4.6 percent.
Educators said the annual AP report
highlights the challenges that school systems across the country
continue to face in closing the achievement gap. Thirty states had more
African American students taking exams and passing them, but the
national gains over the past year inched up only slightly.
example, 11.7 percent of Maryland’s high school seniors who passed an AP
test last year were black, up from 11.4 percent the previous year. The
number in Virginia increased by 0.3 percent, from 7.4 to 7.7 percent.
“Maryland schools are focused on preparing our graduates for higher education or career, and the AP
program provides students with a strong foundation upon which to
build,” Maryland Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery said in a
statement. “Our students continue to make steady progress, but there is
plenty of room for improvement. We must eliminate gaps in achievement
between student subgroups, making certain all our students have the best
Maryland and Virginia exceeded the overall national passing rate of 20.1 percent.
The report also found that there are more test-takers nationwide and that a higher number of them are showing success.
number of U.S. students who graduate from high school and have taken an
AP course has nearly doubled over the past decade, and the number of
low-income students taking AP has more than quadrupled, according to the
In Prince George’s County, the number of students taking
AP exams increased by more than 7 percent in 2013, and the number of
tests with a score of 3 or higher increased by 6.5 percent.
is good news and it demonstrates that we are moving towards our goal of
ensuring that students graduate college- and career-ready,” said Schools
Chief Executive Officer Kevin Maxwell in a statement.
District, 14 percent of graduating seniors from the District’s
traditional and charter schools passed an AP exam while in high school,
continuing a decade of steady improvement, but still trailing the
In Montgomery County, more than half of the graduates
earned a 3 or better on at least one AP exam, outperforming students
across the state and the country, county officials said.
Jenna Johnson, Michael Alison Chandler, Donna St. George, and T. Rees Shapiro contributed to this article.