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2014 College Board Program Results: Advanced Placement

Participation and Performance

Overall, students continue to see gains in both participation and success in AP.

A look at the May 2014 AP Exam administration shows:

  • 1,478,084 11th and 12th grade public school students took AP in 2014, an increase of 3.8% from last year.
  • 408,808 were traditionally underrepresented minority students, an increase of 7.0% from last year.
  • 355,379 were low-income students, an increase of 7.3% from last year.
  • The percentage of the nation’s public high school 11th- and 12th- graders succeeding on at least one AP Exam has nearly doubled over the past decade: from 7.6 in May 2004 to 13.2 in May 2014.

    A line graph that shows that the AP success rate has increased from 7.6% in 2004 to 13.2% in 2014 and the AP participation rate has increased from 12.0% in 2004 to 21.9% in 2014.

 

Data also show our nation’s Hispanic students are now participating in AP at almost the same rate as the nation overall.

  • 19.1% of the nation’s Hispanic public high school 11th- and 12th-graders took an AP Exam in May 2014 compared to 21.9% of all 11th- and 12th-graders nationwide.

    A bar graph that shows that 19.1% of the nation’s Hispanic public high school 11th- and 12th-graders took an AP Exam in May 2014 compared to 21.9% of all 11th- and 12th-graders nationwide.

Although there has been growth in participation across all groups, gaps continue to persist. For example, only 12.9% of African American and 12.0% of Native American public high school 11th- and 12th-graders took an AP Exam in May 2014.

 

Participation has also increased among students taking AP Exams using a fee reduction.

  • The percentage of public school 11th- and 12th-graders using a fee reduction to take an AP Exam has doubled in the last 10 years, from 11.8% to 24.0%.
    A line graph that shows that the percentage of public school 11th- and 12th-graders using a fee reduction to take an AP Exam has doubled in the last 10 years, from 11.8% to 24.0%.

State Participation and Performance

A bar graph that shows the state rankings of AP participation percentage rate of 11th- and 12th-graders who took an AP Exam in May 2014 as compared to the National participation average of 21.9%.
 
A bar graph that shows the state rankings of the AP performance percentage rate of 11th- and 12th-graders who took an AP Exam in May 2014  and scored 3 or higher as compared to the National performance average of 13.2%.

The Importance of AP

Access to challenging course work in high school is a key piece of ensuring successful transitions to college and career. This is especially important because the majority of
U.S. students who enter four-year colleges do not graduate within four years. This can cost students and their families a significant amount of time and money.

New research shows the benefits of AP for all students.Footnote 1

AP students with an average AP Exam score of:

A graphic which shows that AP students with an average AP Exam score: of 1 are 2-6 percentage points higher; of 2 are 7-11 percentage points higher; of 3 are 12-16 percentage points higher; of 4 are 17-22 percentage points higher; and of 5 are 23-27 percentage points higher in expected on-time college graduation rate compared to academically matched peers who don’t take an AP Exam.

 

in expected on-time college graduation rate compared to academically matched peers who don’t take an AP Exam.

The typical student who receives a score of 3 or higher on two AP Exams has the potential to save, on average, nearly $1,779 at a public four-year college and over $6,000 at a private institution.Footnote asterisk*


AP PotentialTM: Missed Opportunities and Areas of Promise

PSAT/NMSQT results are the best predictor of a student’s potential to succeed in certain AP courses.Footnote 2 From these results, educators can identify students with a 60% or higher likelihood of succeeding in particular AP subjects. Using such data, schools, districts, and states can support access to AP for all academically prepared students.

While there was modest growth among students with potential who took a matched course, almost four out of 10 students with AP potential did not.

  • Public school students with potential who participated in at least one matched AP Exam grew from 59% for the class of 2013 to 61% for the class of 2014.
  • 39% of public school students with potential in the class of 2014 did not take a matched AP course.
    A bar graph that shows that 19.1% of the nation’s Hispanic public high school 11th- and 12th-graders took an AP Exam in May 2014 compared to 21.9% of all 11th- and 12th-graders nationwide.

There are opportunities for the class of 2016.

  • 381,792 public school students in the upcoming class of 2016 who took the PSAT/NMSQT in October 2013 showed potential to succeed in AP courses. Among all students in the upcoming class of 2016, 491,508 showed potential.

Expanding Access to Opportunity

All In

The College Board’s All In campaign aims to ensure that every African American, Hispanic, and Native American student who is ready for rigorous work takes an AP course or another advanced course. These students are identified through AP Potential™.

AP STEM Access Program

The College Board has partnered with Google and DonorsChoose.org on the AP STEM Access program, an initiative created to increase the number of traditionally underrepresented minority and female high school students that participate in Advanced Placement (AP) courses in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines.

AP Opportunity Program

To expand access to the AP Program for low-income students, the College Board has partnered with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to launch an initiative to enable almost 70 schools across the nation to start nearly 140 new AP courses.

Fee Reductions

The College Board, along with our national and state partners, provides fee reductions for AP Exam takers with financial need each year. Educators deserve credit for significantly expanding AP opportunity to low-income students during a decade when the need has grown significantly. For context, as of the 2011-12 school year, 50% of K–12 public school students in this country were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, which means their family’s income is at or below 185% of the poverty level issued annually by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


About the Data

The AP data in this report are administration level and represent all of the exams taken within a given year by students in 11th and 12th grades, with the exception of data used to calculate AP potential data for the classes of 2014 and 2016.

Notes

Return to footnote 1 referrer. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED556464: Results are presented for students with average PSAT/NMSQT performance, and ranges are shown since these rates vary by gender, race/ethnicity, and parent education level.

Return to footnote 2 referrer. Ewing, Camara, and Milsap. (2006). The Relationship Between PSAT/NMSQT Scores and AP Examination Grades: A Follow-Up Study. (https://research.collegeboard.org)

Return to footnote * referrer Please note: These estimates are based on Figure 1 of the 2013 College Board report, Trends in College Pricing.