Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida's spike in AP test takers largest in nation again

More Florida students are taking — and passing — AP tests, according to preliminary results released Tuesday by the Florida Department of Education.

In 2009, for the fourth year in a row, Florida had the biggest one-year increase among all states in the number of students taking rigorous advanced placement exams, the Education Department said. The Sunshine State also had the second biggest increase in the number of tests scored at 3 or higher on the AP's 1-5 scale.

The official report from the College Board, which administers the AP program, won't be released until February. And the report did not include a state-by-state breakdown or district-by-district information.

Florida's success with AP isn't new news. But the continued push to get more students onto the AP track continues to generate heated debate. Some are concerned that average or low-performing students are being urged into AP classes, potentially watering down the rigorous curriculum.

In raw numbers, 131,818 high school students took at least one AP exam in 2009, up from 117,698 in 2008, the department says. And 100,356 tests (many students take multiple tests) were scored at 3 or better — a passage rate of 42.9 percent, up from 42 percent.

The rate peaked at 55.6 percent in 2000, when about 38,000 students took an AP test. Since 1999, the number of Florida students taking the exams — considered a key predictor of success in college — has nearly quadrupled, while the number of tests scored at 3 or higher has more than tripled.

SAT scores mixed, as state trails nationally

Average SAT scores for Florida's high school graduates inched up one point in reading and one point in math in 2009, and dipped one point in writing, according to a report Tuesday from the College Board.

The slight increase comes as the number of students taking the test, also considered by many a key predictor of success in college, rose from 98,578 to 100,179.

On the glass-half-empty side: Florida students continue to trail their peers nationally. The average composite score nationally was 1509. In Florida, it was 1475.

On the glass-half-full side: A greater percentage of Florida students (58 percent of its graduates) are taking the SAT than nationally (46 percent). And Florida's Hispanic and black students are doing better than their peers in reading and math.

"Florida's students continue to respond to higher academic expectations by challenging themselves and making significant learning gains," Gov. Charlie Crist said in a written statement. "In this way, our schools and teachers are ensuring a strong learning environment for all Florida students."

Florida's spike in AP test takers largest in nation again 08/25/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 10:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Longest-serving James Bond star Roger Moore dead at 89


    LONDON — Roger Moore, the longest-serving movie star to play iconic British spy James Bond in the famed film series, has died in Switzerland after a brief bout with cancer. He was 89.

    This 2011 photo of British actor Sir Roger Moore as he arrives at the Monaco palace for the religious wedding ceremony of Prince Albert II of Monaco and Charlene Princess of Monaco. Roger Moore's family said Tuesday that the  former James Bond star has died after a short battle with cancer. [Associated Press]
  2. Car fire stalls traffic on Memorial Highway, Courtney Campbell Causeway


    A car fire on Memorial Highway in Tampa near the airport was clogging traffic Tuesday morning, with delays reaching the Courtney Campbell Causeway.

  3. Will Brad Culpepper win it all on Wednesday's 'Survivor' finale?

    The Feed

    Heading into Wednesday's finale of Survivor: Game Changers, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Brad Culpepper said his fans need to know there are still plays to make before the end zone.

    "The Tables Have Turned" - Brad Culpepper, Tai Trang and Hali Ford on the fourth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Jeffrey Neira/CBS Entertainment
  4. Forecast: Dry, muggy conditions for Tampa Bay before severe storms, possible tornadoes arrive ahead of cold front


    Tampa Bay residents can expected a muggy, dry day Tuesday ahead of a cold front and a string of severe storms slated to arrive late Wednesday.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  5. Islamic State group claims responsibility for Manchester blast after Ariana Grande concert

    Public Safety

    MANCHESTER, England — The Islamic State group says one of its members planted bombs in the middle of crowds in Manchester, England, where 22 people died in an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in the city.

    Emergency services work at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester, England Monday, May 22, 2017. Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured.  [Peter Byrne | PA via AP]