Feb. 4, 2009
AUSTIN – Texas exceeded the national average in the percentage of students who took at least one Advanced Placement exam during high school.
Information released today by the College Board, which administers the AP program, found that 27.5 percent of Texas public school students in the Class of 2008 took at least one AP exam while in high school, compared to 25 percent for the nation.
Universities often award course credit to students who earn a score of 3, 4 or 5 on an AP test so a strong performance on these exams can save Texas students thousands of dollars in college tuition costs.
Of those who took an AP exam, 14.5 percent of Texas students earned a score of 3 or higher, compared to 15.2 percent for students nationally. Texans were more likely to earn a score of 3 or higher on AP exams in the areas of art, English and foreign languages than their peers nationally. They were less likely than their peers across the country to earn a high score on math, science, and social studies exams.
AP participation has steadily risen in this state. Among the Class of 2008, 73,008 students took at least one AP test and many take several exams. That compares to 65,958 students in the Class of 2007 and 48,628 in the Class of 2003.
The most frequently taken AP exams in Texas were English Language, U.S. History, English Literature, U.S. Government and Politics and Calculus AB. The top test, English Language, was taken by 38,440 Texans and 45 percent or 17,153 earned a score of 3 or higher.
In the 5th Annual AP Report to the Nation, the College Board cited a Texas school for its exemplary program. The report said the AP Calculus AB course at the Michael E. DeBakey High School for the Health Professions in the Houston Independent School District had one of the largest numbers of African-American students who scored a three or higher in the country.
The State of Texas encourages students to participate in AP courses and to take AP exams through a multi-part incentive program. The state pays $30 of the $86 exam fee. Additional fee reductions are often available to low-income students. To ensure rigorous instruction in AP courses, the state reimburses up to $450 for each teacher who completes a 30-hour AP training institute. The Texas Education Agency also funds campus awards, with schools being awarded up to $100 for each student who earns a score of 3 or higher.