More W.Va. Students Taking Advanced Placement Courses

February 09, 2011

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The number of West Virginia public school students taking college-level Advanced Placement exams has more than doubled in the past decade, according to a national report released Wednesday.

The Seventh Annual AP Report to the Nation, published by the College Board, shows that in 2001, 1,688, or 9.2 percent, high school seniors took the exam compared to 3,204, or 18.4 percent, seniors in 2010. Many of those students voluntarily enrolled in more than one AP course as they seek to take on higher level content and more intense classroom work.

“The AP report validates that we are on the right track in West Virginia by increasing the rigor of our curriculum and encouraging our students to challenge themselves by taking more difficult classes,” state Superintendent of Schools Ted Mattern said. "But we also know that we have not reached our final goal if we want to prepare all students for the 21st century.”  

The report also indicates that a record number of West Virginia students are scoring higher on the AP exams. All AP exams are scored on a 5-point scale. Students must score a three or higher to receive college credit. In West Virginia, the number of high school seniors scoring a three or higher on AP exams increased from 4.9 percent in 2001 to 7.6 percent in 2010.

In another positive trend, the number of low socio-economic high school seniors taking an AP exam has increased from 291 in 2009 to 423 in 2010. Since 2006, the number of low income seniors scoring a three or higher on an AP exam at any point in high school has increased from 6.7 percent to 10.8 percent in 2010.

Encouraging more students to enroll in Advanced Placement courses is just one step the West Virginia Department of Education is taking to increase rigor in the 21st century. As part of the system-wide implementation of Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it, West Virginia has aligned its content standards and objectives with 21st century skills, including critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills. West Virginia’s commitment to Global21 has resulted in West Virginia students being taught a higher level of content than those students across the nation. (

For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education at (304) 558-2699.

-- The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) is committed to ensuring all students in the state are college and career ready when they graduate from a public school. What West Virginia students are learning in school exceeds national and international standards. Through the WVDE’s 21st century learning plan called Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it, West Virginia is seeing better student performance on the West Virginia Educational Standards Test 2 (WESTEST2); the SAT and the ACT college entrance exams; the job skills assessment called Work Keys given to career and technical education students; and in a high school graduation rate that exceeds the national average.

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