Maryland education tallied another number one national ranking today as the College Board released its annual report on the rigorous Advanced Placement (AP) program.
The percentage of Maryland seniors who earned a score of 3 or higher on one or more AP exams reached 26.4 percent in 2010, the highest percentage in the nation for the third straight year and 1.6 percentage points better than 2009, according to the College Board’s “Annual AP Report to the Nation.” A score of 3 or better is considered “college mastery level” on the AP exams, and many colleges and universities award college credit for high school students scoring in that range.
Maryland also ranked first in the nation in the percentage of graduating seniors who had taken AP exams in the mathematics and sciences disciplines. Maryland placed second to Florida in the total percentage of seniors completing an AP exam (43.4 percent to Florida’s 43.5).
"Maryland is committed to strong educational programs for our children, and these results show once again that our priority investments are paying off," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "Rigorous courses such as AP provide our children with an important foundation that will not only help them succeed individually, but also help our State move ahead as we transition to a new economy."
Today's announcement follows last month’s news that Maryland schools ranked first in the nation by Education Week's "Quality Counts" report—also for the third straight year. That report looked at a variety of policy and performance measures, including last year’s AP data.
"High standards and quality programs drive success in our high schools," said State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick. "By providing our children with a strong classroom experience, such as an Advanced Placement course, we give them a rock-solid foundation for future learning and growth."
The College Board sent a delegation to Maryland today to tour several high schools and observe the outstanding instruction taking place in many classrooms throughout the State.
"Congratulations to the state of Maryland," said College Board President Gaston Caperton. "Under Dr. Grasmick's leadership, Maryland leads the nation with the highest percentage of public school seniors succeeding in AP for the third straight year in a row. Maryland students are rising to the challenge set by educators across the state and, as a result, more students graduate high school armed with the tools to succeed in college and beyond."
The Maryland State Department of Education has worked in close partnership with the College Board to strengthen the AP program by increasing access to all students – especially to students from under-represented groups. The program also has provided ongoing professional development to teachers, school counselors, and administrators. The effort has paid big dividends, as 22 of Maryland’s 24 systems have a 20 percent or greater participation rate among high school seniors, and 15 districts have 30 percent or greater.
"Advanced Placement Report to the Nation: 2011," the College Board's seventh annual analysis of the college-level assessment program, gives many high marks to efforts taking place in Maryland schools. For example:
- Just 10 years ago, in 2001, Maryland had just 14.8 percent of its seniors scoring in the college mastery rank. That number has risen 11.6 points over the past decade, the largest rate of improvement in the nation.
- Maryland is one of 14 states recognized for having eliminated the equity and excellence gap in AP achievement for the Hispanic and Latino population. While Hispanics were 7.1 percent of the Maryland population last year, 7.7 percent of the seniors who scored 3 or higher on the AP exam were Hispanic.
- Maryland also has seen a big increase in the percentage of Black/African American students having success on the AP assessments. Nearly 10 percent (9.9 percent) of students receiving a grade of 3 or better in Maryland were Black/African American. That is the fifth-highest percentage among states in the nation.
- Two Maryland schools are being recognized by the College Board for the success of Black/African American students in AP: Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Prince George’s County (for Biology, Chemistry, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition), and Paint Branch High School in Montgomery County (for World History).
The College Board's Advanced Placement Program, which began in 1955, allows students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. Students of different interests and backgrounds can choose from more than 30 courses to demonstrate their knowledge of rigorous academic curriculum.
Complete results are available at http://apreport.collegeboard.org.