Report: Ga. students score well on Advanced Placement tests

LAWRENCEVILLE - More Georgia high school students are scoring well on the rigorous Advanced Placement exams, according to a national report released Wednesday.

The College Board's fifth annual AP Report to the Nation shows in 2008 Georgia had the 15th highest percentage of high school seniors - 16.3 percent - who scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam. The state's percentage, an increase of 1.2 percentage points from last year, is also higher than the national figure of 15.2 percent, according to the report.

"Georgia is a national leader in AP participation and success," State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox said. "More Georgia students than ever are challenging themselves with AP's rigorous coursework and are successfully mastering the material and passing the exams."

Although more black and Hispanic students are taking AP classes, achievement gaps still exist.

"Our schools and school systems recognize that one of the best ways to close the achievement gap is to challenge all students with rigorous work and high expectations," Cox said. "The AP Report to the Nation makes it clear that our schools are doing just that. We have work left to be done, but we are making tremendous progress."

During the 2007-08 school year, more than 10,200 black students in public school took an AP exam, according to the state Department of Education. That's an increase of more than 18 percent from the previous year and represents more than 10 percent of all black test-takers in public school nationwide.

Also that year, there were 2,651 Hispanic students that took at least one AP exam, an increase of more than 35 percent from the previous year, Department of Education officials said.

"I commend Georgia's AP students and teachers for their hard work and diligence in keeping Georgia globally competitive," Gov. Sonny Perdue said. "By continuing to set high goals, Georgia's students will be best prepared to enter tomorrow's work force and help build a stronger Georgia."

To view the complete report, including supplements for each state, visit www.collegeboard.com/apreport.

SideBar: AP Scores, Defined

Advanced Placement exams, administered by the College Board, are graded on a 5-point scale. Scores generally indicate how successful a student will be in college.

5 - Extremely well qualified

4 - Well qualified

3 - Qualified

2 - Possibly qualified

1 - No recommendation

Source: College Board