For Immediate Release
February 8, 2012
Record Number of Illinois Students Taking AP Exams and Posting Successful Scores
Illinois Moves Closer to AP Equity and Excellence for Latino Students;
Number of Latino graduates taking AP courses quadrupled over the past 10 years
SPRINGFIELD – A record number of Illinois students took AP exams in 2011, bumping Latino students’ participation rates to an all-time high and moving the state closer to equity among this student population. The number of Latino graduates taking AP courses has quadrupled in the last decade, according to ‘The 8th Annual AP Report to the Nation.’ The percentage of Illinois graduates completing more than one AP exam has more than doubled since 2001, and the percentage of seniors posting a successful score on these rigorous exams has increased by 7.5 percent since 2001.
“We have made significant strides during the past decade in Illinois, increasing the number of students taking AP classes and scoring well on AP exams,” said State Superintendent Christopher A. Koch. “I expect these gains to continue for all students as we implement Illinois’ internationally-benchmarked learning standards and better monitor student progress over time.”
Illinois ranks in the upper half of the nation in 2011 for the number of high school seniors – 18.5 percent – who scored a 3 or higher on an AP exam. In addition, participation among all categories – by gender, ethnicity and economic class – increased in Illinois as schools implement new, more rigorous college and career-ready standards.
“Reaching equity among our Latino students is an important step in closing the achievement gap and better preparing students to succeed,” said State Board Chairman Gery J. Chico. “We must provide rigorous opportunities for all students, regardless of race, ethnicity or zip code to continue Illinois’ economic vitality in the future.”
Illinois ranked 15th 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 by 7.5 percentage points since 2001 when 11 percent of students scored a 3 or higher. Nearly 30 percent of all high school seniors in the Class of 2011 took at least one AP exam during high school, compared to 20.5 percent in 2006 and 15 percent in 2001.
More of Illinois’ traditionally underserved public high school graduates are participating and succeeding in AP. Research shows that minority and low-income students who earn a 3 or higher on an AP exam are more likely than their peers to earn higher degrees in college and a college degree within five years of enrolling. Some highlights regarding Illinois’ progress toward achieving equity and excellence for its students include:
- 15.1 percent of graduates were Hispanic/Latino, and 13.1 percent of successful AP students from the Class of 2011 were Hispanic/Latino. The number of Latino students who took at least one AP exam during high school more than doubled, from 2,864 in 2006 to 6,246 in 2011. The number of these students who scored a three or higher on at least one AP exam nearly doubled, from 1,630 to 3,213 during that time.
- The number of Black/African American students who took at least one AP Exam during high school more than doubled, from 2,092 in 2006 to 4,686 in 2011, and the number of these students who scored 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam nearly doubled, from 544 to 1,044.
- The number of low-income students who took at least one AP Exam during high school more than doubled, from 4,038 in the class of 2006 to 10,273 in the class of 2011. The number of these students who scored 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam also more than doubled, from 1,565 to 3,894 during that time.
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) adopted the more rigorous, internationally-benchmarked Common Core Standards in English and mathematics in 2010, and school districts are in the process of implementing those standards in classroom curriculum. Last year, Illinois was named a lead state in a collaborative development of new science standards to be drafted within the next year. Illinois is also one of 11 states serving on the governing board of the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). The new online assessments, which will be better aligned to the state standards, will be ready for states to administer in the 2014-15 school year.
Other highlights of the 8th annual AP Report to the Nation:
- Nearly 12 percent of students scored a 3 or higher on the AP Social Science Exam, making it the exam with the greatest number of Illinois students achieving a successful score.
- The most popular AP exam in Illinois for the graduating class of 2011 was U.S. History with 13,390 tests taken compared to Chemistry with 4,212 tests taken.
- The 8th Annual Report to the Nation features Whitney M. Young Magnet School in Chicago and AP Calculus teacher Matthew Moran. Nationally, 202,725 public high school graduates took AP Calculus AB in 2010-11. In Illinois, 2,732 test takers reported Calculus AB exam scores to higher education institutions last school year.