Florida students again among top nationally on AP exams

The Class of 2018 has one of the highest passing and participation rates.
Students study for Advanced Placement exams [Times | 2013]
Students study for Advanced Placement exams [Times | 2013]
Published Feb. 6, 2019

Florida’s aggressive support of students taking college-level Advanced Placement courses and exams, which can yield college credits, continues to generate strong results.

Data released Wednesday shows Florida high school students among the top three in participation and passing rates for yet another year. The state views these metrics as important enough to count them as part of a high school’s annual accountability grade.

For the most recent year, the College Board reports that 31.7 percent of high school seniors graduated having scored a 3 or higher (considered passing) on at least one AP exam. Only Massachusetts and Connecticut had higher percentages, and just barely.

Florida’s increase over the past decade in students scoring 3 or higher also was third nationally, with a 12.4 percent rise, slightly behind Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

At the highest level, 8.8 percent of Florida AP test takers in the Class of 2018 scored a top 5, compared to 12.5 percent nationally. On the other end, 24.4 percent scored a bottom 1, compared to 19.5 percent nationally.

That result could link to the fact that 55.9 percent of 2018 Florida graduates took an AP exam during high school — higher than any other state — compared to 38.9 percent nationally.

There has been debate over the years over whether students should have access to AP courses and exposure to the rigorous demands as a way to raise expectations and prepare for the future, or whether to limit enrollment to students who have proven they are prepared.

State officials have taken the position that students should be challenged, and AP is one way to accomplish that goal.

“These results are worthy of celebration, and I congratulate the students whose hard work and dedication is paying off,” education commissioner Richard Corcoran said in a released statement. "Governor DeSantis has a bold vision for making Florida first in all education measures, and his massive investments in K-12 education will help Florida’s students soar to even greater heights. I look forward to working with the Legislature to secure this critical education funding, with the goal of topping this accomplishment and every other national ranking moving forward.”

See the 2018 AP Cohort Data Report for more details.

Related coverage: Florida is again among leaders in Advanced Placement scores (2013)