For Immediate Release
Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Illinois ranks No. 1 for largest year-over-year increase in the percentage of graduating students scoring a 3 or higher on an Advanced Placement Exam

​Twenty-three Illinois high schools earn AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award

SPRINGFIELD – The College Board has announced that Illinois ranks No. 1 among all states for charting the largest year-over-year increase in the percentage of public high school graduates scoring a 3 or higher on at least one Advanced Placement (AP) Exam during high school. Illinois' rate of graduates scoring 3 or higher grew by 4 percent from 2018 to 2019. In the Class of 2019, 28.4 percent of students scored a 3 or higher on an AP Exam, compared to 27.3 percent in the Class of 2018.

Governor JB Pritzker's recently released fiscal year 2021 budget proposal includes $2.5 million in funding to help defer the cost of Advanced Placement testing fees for low-income students. The governor committed $2 million to reduce fees for students in FY 2020.

“I've made it a priority for Illinois to invest in and expand access to Advanced Placement, especially for low-income students, and I'm pleased to see the hard work of students and educators paying off in ways that will help students earn college credit while they're still in high school," said Governor JB Pritzker. “AP classes also help students prepare for the rigors of college coursework, and we will continue to build on our investments to help even more students from every part of the state succeed."

“AP courses and exams prepare students for in-demand degrees, credentials, and careers," said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “Illinois' schools and districts are leading the nation in supporting students from all backgrounds to reach the rigor they need to succeed after high school."

Latinx students in all grades are driving Illinois' gains in AP Exam participation and success. The proportion of Latinx students taking AP exams grew by 3.8 percent, accounting for 26.7 percent of all AP Exam takers in 2019 – up from 25.7 percent in 2018. ISBE's 2019 Illinois Report Card showed four years of continuous growth in students' access to and success in Advanced Placement. Statewide, students of color made up 48 percent of total students enrolled in AP courses in 2019 – up 6 percentage points from just three years ago. At the same time that the state has expanded access, Illinois has raised its pass rate on AP Exams by 2.3 percentage points since 2016.

The College Board also announced that 23 Illinois high schools have earned the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for expanding young women's access to AP computer science courses.​

In the Class of 2019, Illinois saw the largest growth in the numbers of students taking AP Exams for Computer Science Principles, Spanish Language and Culture, English Language and Composition, U.S. History, and Human Geography.

The state's investment in AP Exam fee reductions for low-income students has boosted access and success, with 31.3 percent of all AP Exam takers in Illinois using a fee reduction. Governor JB Pritzker included $2 million in the fiscal year 2020 budget to further commit to equitable access to college preparation courses.

Scoring a 3 or higher on an AP Exam can earn students early college credit, saving families time and money toward a student's degree.​