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Advanced Placement Tests

Description: 

Innovation requires the steady input of human capital into the workforce and into institutions of higher learning. AP test taking is used in the college admission process. College credit or placement in higher-level college courses may be awarded. Research has shown that a grade of 3 or higher is a strong predictor of the ability to earn a bachelor’s degree.

As many as 37 advanced placement (AP) courses are offered in 22 subject areas in participating high schools. AP courses are intended to be at a college level of learning. The number of students taking at least one AP exam, the total number of AP exams taken, and the number of AP exams taken scoring 3 or higher are reported by the College Board by state. Exam scores range from 1 to 5, with 3 termed “qualified” (equivalent to a ‘B’ to ‘C’ grade in a college course) and 5 defined as “extremely well qualified” (equivalent to an ‘A’ grade in a college course).

Arizona is compared to the national average from 2000 through 2011 on the percentage of students taking an AP exam and on the percentage of AP exams taken scoring 3 or higher. The percentage of students is calculated from enrollment figures of 12th grade students on October 1. Since some students take AP exams prior to the 12th grade, and since the AP exams are given the following May, October 1 enrollment serves as a proxy for the potential number of students who could take an AP exam.

Data Quality Comments: 

Only public school students are included in the data because consistent enrollment figures are limited to public school students. As noted above, the percentage of students taking an AP exam is based on enrollment figures that are a proxy for the potential number of students who could take an AP exam. Arizona’s considerably lower-than-average share of students taking an AP exam could result from multiple causes: for example, AP courses may not be offered, or publicized, at some schools.

iconPercent of Students Taking AP Exams

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iconPercent of AP Exams Taken Scored 3 or Higher

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Data Source

The College Board:
http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/exgrd.html

U.S. Department of Education:
http://www.ade.az.gov/researchpolicy/AZEnroll/2008-2009/Default.asp

NCES:
http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2011347