For Immediate Release
February 4, 2009
Number of students taking AP exams in Illinois going up; Increasing number of minority students meeting benchmark for college success
Chicago’s Whitney Young High School top in nation for African American students scoring 3 or higher on the AP English Language Exam
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education today announced the number of Illinois students taking and passing AP exams increased in 2008. Illinois also ranked in the upper half of the nation for number of high school seniors – 15.2 percent – who scored 3 or higher on an AP exam in 2008 according to the 5th Annual AP Report to the Nation. In addition, participation among all categories – by gender, ethnicity and class – increased in Illinois.
“We know that a rigorous academic curriculum builds the foundation both for success in the classroom and following graduation,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “We’re pleased to see our AP results improve and expect to see the trend continue as we review and revise our Illinois Learning Standards and continue our work with the American Diploma Project.’’
Illinois ranked 18th in the nation for having the greatest percent of seniors posting a 3 or higher which studies have shown is predictive of college success and college graduation. The percentage of Illinois students reaching that benchmark has increased since 2003 when 13 percent of students scored a 3 or higher.
Illinois joined the American Diploma Project last October to better prepare students for college and the workforce. Illinois will be among the first states to not only use national benchmarks, but also look at what other countries require of their students. Once the 18-24-month process is completed, it is expected that Illinois Learning Standards will be more focused, easier to understand and more rigorous.
Chicago’s Whitney M. Young Magnet High School was singled out in the AP Report to the Nation for having the greatest number of African American students from the class of 2008 scoring 3 or higher on the AP English Language exam. Across the state, increasing numbers of African American and Latino students are participating in AP.
- In Illinois, Hispanic or Latino high school seniors in 2008 represent 13.4 percent of the AP examinee population, up from 9.5 percent in 2003. The number of Hispanic students from all grade levels taking the test in 2008 grew by 19.4 percent since last year and the percent of Hispanic students who scored a 3 or higher on the exam also increased by 19 percent.
- Nationally, Black or African American high school seniors represent 7.8 percent of the AP examinee population. In Illinois, Black or African American seniors in 2008 represent 11.1 percent of the AP examinee population, up from 7.1 percent in 2003. The percentage of Black students from all grade levels taking the test in 2008 grew by 9.3 percent since last year.
- American Indian high school seniors represent less than one percent of AP test takers but the number of American Indian students from all grade levels taking the test in 2008 grew by 7.7 percent since last year and 8 percent more scored a 3 or higher on the exam.
- More than 56 percent of students from all grade levels who took the test in 2008 were females, a 9.6 percent increase over the previous year. Females posting a score of 3 or higher grew by 7.4 percent since last year.
- More low-income students are participating and experiencing success in AP than ever before. Nationally, 17 percent of seniors taking the test in 2008 were low-income students, up from 11.6 percent in the class of 2003. In Illinois, 19 percent of seniors taking the test in 2008 were low-income students, up from 12.3 percent in the class of 2003.
Other highlights of the 5th Annual AP Report to the Nation:
- Across the state, 14.2 percent of the graduating class of 2008 took at least one social science AP exam – more than in any other subject area.
- The most popular AP exam in Illinois for the graduating class of 2008 was U.S. History with 11,150 tests taken compared to the least popular, European History with 3,655 tests taken.
- Across the country, White students represent 64.1 percent of the public school graduating class of 2008 and 60.2 percent of the AP examinee examination