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Press Release

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Florida Students Lead Nation in Advanced Placement Participation

- State earns first-place ranking for third consecutive year -

Tallahassee - For the third year in a row, Florida had the highest percentage of high school graduates taking an Advanced Placement (AP) exam while in high school according to The 8th Annual AP Report to the Nation® released today by the College Board. The first-place ranking, with 47.4 percent of 2011 seniors (72,685) taking at least one AP exam during their high school career, bettered the national average of 30.2 percent. In addition, Florida placed sixth in the country in the percent of graduates earning a 3 or higher on an AP exam, with 23.9 percent of last year's 36,678 graduates scoring 3 or better. The national average was 18.1 percent.

"The latest Advanced Placement results highlight the achievement of Florida's students," said Florida Governor Rick Scott. "Participating in advanced coursework and taking AP exams gives students a head start as they move into higher education."

Florida's success is fueled by solid performance of African-American and Hispanic students. The percent of Florida's Hispanic test takers who scored 3 or higher on an AP exam increased to 28.4 percent, up from 27.9 percent in 2010 and 23.2 percent in 2001. Also, according to an analysis by the College Board using data from the May 2011 AP test administration, Miami-Dade County leads the nation in both the number of Hispanic students scoring 3 or higher on the AP exam and the total number of AP exams taken by Hispanics, and ranks seventh in the country in exam scores of 3 or higher for African-American students.

African-American students improved their performance statewide by increasing the percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher on an AP exam to 7.1 percent, up from 6.7 percent in 2010 and 5.2 percent in 2001. Additionally, over the last five years the percentage of students in Florida earning a 3 or higher on an AP exam has grown 6.6 percent, tying for second in the nation.

"This is tremendous news and shows that Florida students are embracing the rigors of advanced coursework and what it means to be ready for college or a career," said Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson. "I would like to offer special congratulations to Polk County School District for winning College Board's AP District of the Year Award for 2011. This prestigious honor celebrates their success in significantly increasing equity and excellence for all students. Not only have they significantly increased participation, but also performance across all students in their district."

"I applaud our exceptional teachers for providing high-quality instruction so students can learn and perform at superior levels," added Commissioner Robinson. "I am confident that we will continue to maximize efforts to prepare students for the pathway to rigorous postsecondary work and 21st century careers."

Other highlights from The 8th Annual AP Report to the Nation® include

  • Five school districts in Florida (Leon, Monroe, Okaloosa, St. Johns and Seminole) had 30 percent or more of their graduating class earn a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam in high school.
  • Polk County Schools was one of three school districts nationally to be honored with the College Board's 2011 AP District of the Year Award for their success in significantly boosting participation in AP coursework while increasing the number of students earning scores of 3 or higher on the exam.

For more information on The 8th Annual AP Report to the Nation®, visit http://apreport.collegeboard.org/.