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PRESS RELEASE

February 6, 2007

Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

Education Commissioner Winn Announces Largest Increase in Advanced Placement Participation

TALLAHASSEE –Education Commissioner John L. Winn today announced that Florida ranks number one in the nation for the largest percentage of public school students taking Advanced Placement (AP) exams. During 2006, 36.4 percent of Florida’s public school students participated in AP compared to 32.9 percent in 2005 and 24.2 percent nationally. There were 13,221 more students who took an AP exam, the largest increase to date, for a total of 90,681 participating students.

“These numbers show us that Florida’s students are ready and eager for tougher coursework that prepares them for the future,” said Governor Charlie Crist. “By challenging our students to strive, we help them realize their full potential.”

AP Participation Increases

Overall, there was a 17.1 percent increase in the number of students participating in AP in Florida from 2005 to 2006 with the largest increase among African-American students. The number of Hispanic students taking AP courses in Florida is outpacing the total number of Hispanic students in the state. Based on the Class of 2006, Hispanic students made up 20.4 percent of Florida’s public school students, while 24.2 percent of the state’s 12th grade students taking at least one AP exams were Hispanic – eliminating the achievement gap. Overall, last year, there was a 20.0 percent increase in the number of Hispanic students taking AP exams and a 22.5 percent increase in the number of African-American students taking AP exams.

“Florida’s high school students need rigorous classes to prepare them for college and the workforce,” said Commissioner Winn. “These figures show us that all of Florida’s students, especially our minority students, will rise to the challenge and succeed when the bar is set high.”

Exam Performance on the Rise

During 2006, 19.6 percent of Florida public high school seniors graduated passing one or more AP exams ranking the state seventh in the nation. Nationally, the average was 14.8 percent – a 6 percent increase for Florida during the last year – only four other states have had a 6 percent or higher increase. The total number of Florida students receiving a passing score (3 and above) on an AP exam increased by 11.8 percent since 2005. In addition, there has been a steady increase in the number of Hispanic students passing AP exams. During 2006, there were 1,820 more Hispanic students who passed an AP exam than the prior year. The number of Hispanic students passing an AP exam doubled from 7,234 students in 2001 to 15,822 in 2006. The same is true for Florida’s African-American students. During 2006, there were 267 more African-American students who passed an AP exam. Since 2001, the number has more than doubled when only 1,655 students passed an AP exam compared to 3,326 in 2006.

“Florida is among a handful of outstanding states that lead the nation in AP performance, with nearly 20 percent of public school students in the state graduating from high school with success on an AP exam,” said College Board President Gaston Caperton. “These results make it clear that the Florida Partnership has been an unqualified success. The changes brought about by the Partnership in conjunction with the Florida Department of Education have resulted in dramatic improvements, especially for Florida’s underrepresented and minority students.”

Additionally, the College Board recognized several public Florida high schools for their exemplary AP programs. For the second year in a row, Florida has more schools recognized than any other state in the nation. Schools recognized: Alex W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts, West Palm Beach; Barbara Goleman High School, Miami; Coral Reef Senior High, Miami; Cypress Bay High School, Weston; Design and Architecture Senior High School, Miami; Miami Coral Park Senior High School, Miami; Miami Killean Senior High School, Miami; Palmetto Senior High School, Miami; New World School of the Arts, Miami; School for Advanced Studies South, Miami; Stanton College Preparatory School, Jacksonville; and Stranahan High School, Ft. Lauderdale.

For more information on Florida’s participation and performance on AP visit www.firn.edu/doe/evaluation/act-sat-ap.htm. To learn more about Florida’s unique partnership with the College Board log on to www.collegeboard.com.