Delaware's Six-Year Improvement of Advanced Placement (AP) Grades Ranked Second in Nation
--One year gain places Delaware third in U.S.--
(Dover, De.) TEarlier today, the College Board released its annual “Report to the Nation” on Advanced Placement (AP) participation and performance data in all U.S. public high schools. Today’s report shows that in a six year period, from 2000-2006, Delaware is ranked second in the nation in the percentage increase of students who received a grade of 3 or higher on AP exams. Also, Delaware is ranked third in the nation for the percentage gain of students receiving a grade 3 or higher in a one-year period (2005-2006).
For the graduating class of 2006, 14.5% of high school students in Delaware scored a 3 or higher on an AP exam, compared to 7.6% in 2000. This 6.9 percentage point increase is second in the U.S. only to Maryland, and surpasses the national average increase of 4.6%. Today’s report also ranked Delaware third in the nation for the percentage increase in the number of students receiving a grade of 3 or higher from 2005 to 2006. Only Arkansas and New Hampshire (tied) had a higher percentage point gain.
In the past six years, Delaware has seen a constant, steady upward trend of students participating in Advanced Placement coursework. Since 2001, the number of students participating in AP has increased by 144 percent. Ten years ago, in 1996, 815 high school students took AP coursework, statewide. In 2006, that number has grown to nearly 3,300.
The number of exams taken by students has also increased dramatically. Since 2001, the number of AP exams taken by Delaware public school students increased by 3,739 or 165%. In comparison, between 1996 and 2001, the number of exams taken by students increased by 1,092 or 93.4%.
According to today’s report, the number of students who scored a grade 3 or higher improved significantly as well. Just ten years ago, Delaware’s students scored 3 or higher on 715 AP exams. Five years ago, the number increased to 1,329; while in 2006, the number reached 2,943. A comparison between 2005-2006 showed an increase of 15.7% compared to a national increase of 10.1%.
"Today's report clearly shows the incredibly hard work by so many of our students to not only participate in AP but to score at the highest grades possible," said Governor Ruth Ann Minner. "It is obvious that this constant, upward trend of student participation and high grades is a result of perseverance and hard work. I applaud the outstanding efforts of these students as well as the dedication of our teachers to help prepare them to succeed."
The College Board partners with colleges and universities to create AP exams of college-level learning in 37 subject areas. Most colleges in the U.S. recognize AP exams in the admissions process as a sign of a student’s ability to succeed in rigorous higher education curricula. They also award college credit or placement into a higher level college course so that college entrants can move directly into the courses that match their level of academic preparation for college.
In today’s report, the College Board also praised Delaware for implementing initiatives designed to prepare low-income students for success in Advanced Placement courses. From 2001-2006, the College Board reports that participation by low-income students increased from 18 to 236. Also, since 2001, the number of tests taken by low income students rose from 375 to 408. This indicates that many low income students are taking more than one AP course.
The "Report to the Nation" also provided an in-depth analysis of the graduating class of 2006. In Delaware, 27.7% of the graduating class took an AP exam at some point in their high school career, in comparison to 24.4% for the nation. Also, 18.6% took one or more Social Science AP exam, more than any other area. Social Science courses include: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Physics B, Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism, and Physics C: Mechanics.
In 2006, 14.5% of the graduating class of 2006 scored 3 or higher on an AP exam at some point in their high school career, which is similar to the nation’s 14.8%. Also, 8.7% scored 3 or higher on one or more Social Science AP exams. Compared to the rest of the country, Delaware outscored students across the U.S. in Science, Math and Social Science; was even in Arts and All Areas; and less than one percentage point in English and Language.
"I am pleased that more and more of our public high school students are choosing to participate in Advanced Placement coursework," said Secretary of Education Valerie A. Woodruff. "Today's 'Report to the Nation' validates a continuous increase in the number of students seizing the opportunity to take enriched courses that will help them succeed in our global economy. I am proud of these hard working students and the educators who help students to succeed."
For further information on the College Board report and programs, go to
Delaware’s Department of Education is committed to promoting the highest quality education for every Delaware student by providing visionary leadership and superior service.
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
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