More W.Va. Students Taking Advanced Placement Courses

February 10, 2010

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The number of West Virginia public school students taking college-level Advanced Placement exams has jumped 10 percent in 2008-2009, outperforming the national average increase of 7.5 percent, according to a national report released Wednesday.

The Sixth Annual AP Report to the Nation, published by the College Board, shows that 5,116 West Virginia public school students took an Advanced Placement exam. 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 Steve Paine 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 students scoring a three or higher on AP exams increased 14.6 percent to 3,383 in 2008-2009, compared to a national increase of 9.4 percent. The number of West Virginia students scoring a three or higher on AP exams has steadily increased every year since 2004.

The West Virginia Center for Professional Development (WVCPD) is required by state code to provide training for educators to teach Advanced Placement courses. The Center strives to increase student performance in AP by equipping teachers with College Board certified instruction throughout the year. In addition, WVCPD has created programs and strategies to expand the AP access to rural and underserved populations.

“We are dedicated to providing nationally recognized AP professional development for teachers with the goal of supporting student success in these courses,” said Dr. Dixie Billheimer, CEO, WVCPD. “We look forward to continuing the collaborative efforts with schools, counties, and the West Virginia Department of Education to expand these successes each year,” Dr. Billheimer continued.

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. As a result, West Virginia students are being taught at a higher level of content than those students across the nation because of our commitment to Global21. (See

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

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