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More Iowa students participate in Advanced Placement courses


Monday, September 24, 2012

The number of Iowa public high school students who are getting a taste of college-level studies through participation in Advanced Placement courses continues to climb, according to a report released today by the College Board.

The number of graduates in Iowa’s class of 2012 who took at least one AP exam during high school reached 9,608, an increase of 8.9 percent from the year before and an increase of 34.9 percent from five years ago. The number of AP exams taken in Iowa increased in the last year by 11.1 percent to 15,148, compared to 7 percent nationally.

“Iowa is setting the stage for more students to graduate from high school ready for success in college and careers through challenging programs such as AP,” Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass said. “We must continue down this path and take further steps to make sure that all students are prepared to succeed in our increasingly competitive global economy.”

Iowa students also are outpacing the nation with regard to passing scores on AP exams. Of the exams taken by students in the class of 2012, 64 percent earned a score of 3 or better; that compares to 57 percent nationally. AP exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest possible score. Many colleges and universities offer college-level credit only for exams that earn a score of 3 or better.

Participation in AP has increased as courses and exams have become more available to students through Iowa Online AP Academy and Senior Year Plus legislation. The Iowa Online AP Academy was established more than a decade ago to deliver courses to high school students across the state, particularly those in rural and small communities. Senior Year Plus legislation, which passed in 2008, provides access to AP courses as well as other opportunities to earn college credit in high school.

The 9,608 students in the class of 2012 who took AP exams makes up approximately 29 percent of last year’s graduating class in Iowa.

The College Board report also included an overview of Iowa’s participation in the SAT college entrance exam. Overall, students in the class of 2012 continued to perform well above the national average on the SAT, but fewer public school students are taking the exam.

Three percent of Iowa’s 2012 graduating seniors took the SAT. The number of test-takers (890) marks an 8.6 percent decrease from the previous year. However, average scores increased during the same period in reading by 6 percentage points; in math by 5 percentage points; and in writing by 7 percentage points.

Iowa’s class of 2012 posted the following mean scores on SAT:
Critical reading: 608, compared to a national mean score of 491
Mathematics: 617, compared to a national mean score of 505
Writing: 588, compared to a national mean score of 481

The Advanced Placement program and SAT are administered by the College Board, a not-for-profit organization created in 1900 to expand access to higher education.

Find out more on the College Board’s website:

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Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on January 23, 2018 at 11:15pm.