AP PARTICIPATION, ACHIEVEMENT CONTINUE REMARKABLE RISE; MARYLAND SAT PARTICIPATION INCREASES; PSAT SCORES MOVE FORWARD
Maryland students recorded yet another substantial jump in both Advanced Placement (AP) assessment participation and success, according to newly released data.
Nearly 60,000 Maryland students took at least one AP test last year, an increase of 5.6 percent over 2010, and the number of exams taken jumped 6.4 percent to 110,641. In spite of the increase, the number of student test scores reaching the “College Mastery” range increased 5.3 percent.
Hitting the College Mastery target qualifies students to receive credit at many colleges and universities. The data was released today by the College Board, which administers AP and other national programs.
“Our goal in Maryland is to strengthen our State as a national leader in quality public education,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “This data clearly demonstrates that our students continue to lead the way in academic success.”
Interim State Superintendent Bernard Sadusky said the results are another sign Maryland students are leaving high school better prepared for college or career. “Taking a rigorous program of study throughout high school, like AP, gives students a good launch pad for their future,” Dr. Sadusky said.
Maryland student success on the AP exams has ranked first in the nation for the past three years. The College Board will release its 2011 rankings early in 2012.
Scores on the SAT exam registered a slight decline – both in Maryland and across the nation. Maryland’s composite SAT score fell six points to 1492 on the 2400-point scale, mirroring the six-point national drop. Maryland students scored a 499 in critical reading (down one point), 502 in mathematics (down 3 points), and 491 in writing (down 2 points).
The scores came as the State experienced nearly a 1 percent growth in participation, with 47,787 students taking the test in Maryland. The State has been working closely with the College Board to increase participation in exams.
“Maryland’s 2011 senior class broke the State’s previous record for the highest percentage of students taking the SAT and the most diverse group of test takers,” said College Board President Gaston Caperton. “The students, their parents, and educators deserve our congratulations.”
Maryland SAT scores continue to compare favorably to the results recorded by students in similar states. For example, Maryland students outscored students in the neighboring SAT-dominated states of Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC, and their scores ranked seventh among the 20 states with 58 percent or more of their graduates taking the SAT.
The recently released report includes a variety of positive information about Maryland test takers. For example:
- Scores on the PSAT/NMSQT test increased for juniors taking the exam, even as more students took the tests. The mean critical reading score for juniors was up .5 points to 46.9; the mean math score was up .9 points to 47.9 (both higher than the national average increase), while the writing skills mean fell back .4 points to 45.2.
- More students took the PSAT as sophomores, and again the scores improved. The critical reading mean was up .7 points, the critical math mean was up 1.2 points, and the writing skills mean declined .3 points.
- AP participation went up across racial subgroups. African American students tallied a 7.9 percent increase in participation, and a 10.1 percent jump in the number of tests taken. Hispanic student participation jumped nearly 15 percent (14.9 percent). Asian participation—which has always been strong—went up another 6.8 percent.
- Success on the AP also was registered across many racial subgroups, according to the College Board data. The number of African American students scoring a 3 or better on an AP exam went up 9.1 percent; the number of Hispanic students scoring at this College Mastery range jumped 12.2 percent. The number of Asian students reaching the College Master level was up 6.9 percent, while the number of White students hitting that mark rose 5.4 percent.
Maryland officials are particularly gratified by the increase in participation across the board. The State’s long-running partnership with the College Board has helped increase the number of students in urban and rural communities involved in both the AP and SAT programs.
“We know Maryland students must be able to compete with students nationally and internationally, and getting involved with college preparatory programs like Advanced Placement and the SAT is one of the best tools we have,” said Dr. Sadusky. “Our plan is to continue this work, and other career- and college-ready programs, to make certain our students leave high school prepared for the choices they deserve.”
MSDE last month received a three year, $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to expand its successful AP Program.
The competitive grant, “Operation ACCESS: Building the STEM Pipeline for College and Career,” will address the need to increase the successful participation of low-income students in Advanced Placement (AP) courses and exams using six strategies: Acceleration, College and career readiness, Community connections, Enrichment, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) courses, and Student and family support.