Florida high school seniors see gains on Advanced Placement, with room to grow
Florida high schools continued to make strides in participation and passing rates on the rigorous Advanced Placement tests, a newly released College Board report shows.
The Sunshine State, which has taken several actions to make AP courses more readily available, had the second highest point gain over a decade in the percentage of students earning a 3 or better on at least one AP test, at 27.3 percent. That rate was fifth best in the country, and above the national level of 20.1 percent.
The state also ranked second nationally in the percentage of high school seniors taking AP courses, at 53.1 percent.
Florida saw strong increases in participation and success rates within demographic subgroups. Hispanic and low-income students saw the biggest gains, with both groups having 31 percent of test takers earning a 3 or better. African-American students also improved their participation and passing levels, but remained significantly lower, with 7.3 percent earning 3 or better on the tests.
The most tests taken in Florida were English language, U.S. history, world history, psychology and English literature. The top passing rates came in subject areas with smaller groups, such as languages, studio arts and calculus. See the College Board's state report here.
It remains a point of debate as to whether taking the AP courses without passing the exams is beneficial. Read more from the Associated Press here.
Florida education commissioner Pam Stewart praised the state's results.
“Florida is a national leader in providing students access to college-level coursework while they are in high school,” Stewart said in a release. “For many years, our students have benefitted from thoughtful state leadership and foresight so they can experience the rigor of a postsecondary education and earn college credit before they graduate. I am especially pleased that more Hispanic and low-income graduates than ever before are prepared for success in college, career and in life.”