Florida high school students continue to rank among the top in the nation when it comes to performance on college-caliber Advanced Placement exams, according to results released Wednesday.
Florida ranked No. 7 in the percentage of high school seniors who passed at least one AP exam by the time they graduated last year, says the College Board, the nonprofit that oversees the AP program.
Florida's percentage was 22.3 percent, up from 21.3 percent last year. The national average was 16.9 percent.
The top state was Maryland, with 26.4 percent, followed by New York, Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts and California.
Florida also ranked high in improvement.
Over the last five years, only Vermont has seen a bigger increase in the percentage of seniors who have passed at least one AP exam. Florida's rate climbed 4.9 percent since 2006.
The report would seem to be at odds with Florida's AP pass rates, which have dropped from 55.6 percent to 41.1 percent since 2000. But it is both true that Florida students are passing a smaller percentage of AP exams and a rising percentage of graduating seniors have passed at least one.
One big reason why: The number of students taking AP exams in Florida has skyrocketed. In 2000, 38,185 Florida students took AP exams. In 2010, 157,238 did.
Ron Matus can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8873.