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Students Achieve in Advanced Placement

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March 13, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The number of West Virginia public high school students taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses and earning college credit continues to increase, according to a national report. The College Board's 2014 AP Cohort Data (formerly known as the AP Report to the Nation) revealed that the class of 2014 took more AP courses and passed more AP exams than previous graduating classes in the state.

Advanced Placement is an international College Board program that allows students to take college-level courses in high school and earn college credit with the successful completion of standardized exams. These tests are scored from one to five, and a three is considered as a passing score by most colleges and universities.

The AP Cohort Data reports that 3,817 members of the class of 2014 (23.2 percent) took at least one AP exam while in high school. That number has nearly doubled since 2004 when 2,170 graduates (12.5 percent) took at least one exam.

Out the 2014 test takers, 1,677 (10.2 percent) earned a three or higher. The percent of students scoring a three or higher on an AP exam has jumped from 7.7 percent (2009), to 8.6 percent (2011), to 9.4 percent (2013).

"We are seeing gains every year which is encouraging news," said Michael Martirano, West Virginia Superintendent of Schools. "A key goal of the One Voice, One Focus: All Students Achieving Vision Plan is that every student graduates ready for college or a career. Students participating and succeeding in AP courses will help achieve this goal."

According to College Board statistics, students who participate in the AP program are more likely to graduate from college in four or fewer years. During the past 10 years the state has implemented a number of policy changes that support student access to and success in AP courses. Even with this effort, large segments of students are not pursuing high-level courses, even though data reveal they have the potential to succeed in these types of classes.

The West Virginia Center for Professional Development (WVCPD) provides the required professional development for AP teachers in the state, and will work closely with Dr. Martirano to implement the vision plan. "WVCPD is a committed partner to the West Virginia Department of Education as we all strive to increase the success of our students in Advanced Placement," said Dr. Dixie Billheimer, Chief Executive Office of WVCPD. "We believe that working together, we can move the state forward to a higher level of student achievement in AP and other rigorous courses," she said. "We want our students to leave high school prepared to pursue any number of options, and we think that AP is an important part of that preparation," Dr. Billheimer said.

According to the Cohort Data, the national percentage of all U.S. public high school graduates scoring a three or higher on at least one AP exam increased from 12.7 percent for the class of 2004 to 21.6 percent for the class of 2014.

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

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