More students succeed on AP exams, new report shows

High school students across the nation, and in Georgia, still struggle to earn top grades on Advanced Placement Exams, but they are getting better, according to a report released today.

Of the 2.8 million public high school seniors in the class of 2007 who took an AP exam, 15.2 percent — or 426,000 of them — earned a 3 or higher, according to College Board, the group that owns and administers the AP program.

In 2006, 14.7 percent of seniors earned a 3 or higher and just 11.7 percent in 2002, according to the fourth annual AP Report of the Nation.

"Educators and policymakers across the nation should be commended for their sustained commitment to helping students achieve access to and success in AP courses and exams," College Board President Gaston Caperton said.

In Georgia, the trend was much the same with 15.3 percent of the seniors in the class of 2007 which took AP exams, scoring a 3 or better. The state has also seen numbers inch upwards since 2002.

Experts attribute the rise to more students taking AP courses and more are taking them early on so by the time they become seniors are used to the rigor and exams.

High school students can choose to take advanced placement courses which are considered to be the equivalent of a college course.

At the end of the class they take an exam and if they score a 3, 4 or 5, can earn college credit.

Students who take AP courses have a 61 percent chance of graduating with a bachelor's degree on time, versus 29 percent of students who take no AP coursework, according to College Board officials.

Bibb County schools offers 76 AP classes this year, up from about 60 last year.

Of the 733 Bibb County school AP test-takers in 2007, 203 scored a 3 or higher.

"At first we were trying to get more students in the classes," said Deidra Romero, an AP teacher at Rutland High School in Macon. "Now that we have more in the door we're trying to get scores up."

For more on this read Thursday's The Telegraph.