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Virginia students again among Top 10 in achievement on AP Exams

Nearly three out of every 10 of Virginia’s 2019 public high school graduates demonstrated college-level achievement on at least one Advanced Placement examination, according to data released today by the College Board, the nonprofit organization that manages the AP program.

The College Board reported today that 28.8% of the commonwealth’s 2019 graduating seniors earned a score of three or higher on at least one AP test. This represented an increase over 2018, when 28.5% of graduating seniors earned qualifying scores.

The commonwealth ranked ninth in the nation in AP performance. Nationwide, 23.9 percent of graduating seniors achieved scores of three or higher.

“It is gratifying to see our students continue to do well compared with their peers in other states on these challenging college-level assessments and I’m excited that the commonwealth continues to be a leader in the nation in AP achievement results,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane. “But I remain concerned about the commonwealth’s ability to expand AP participation for students for whom the examination fees represent a real barrier.”

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 discontinued a program that provided grants to states to subsidize AP and International Baccalaureate examination fees for economically disadvantaged students.

Virginia students took 143,447 AP examinations in May 2019. Of these tests, 103,871 earned qualifying scores. At an average rate of $454 per college credit hour, the total potential cost savings for the state’s students and families was $140,897,349.

Although colleges and universities set their own policies for awarding credit, a score of three or higher on an AP test is generally accepted as indicative of college-level work.

The 10 most popular AP courses among Virginia’s 2019 graduating seniors were — in descending order — English Language and Composition, U.S. History, U.S. Government and Politics, Psychology, World History, English Literature and Composition, Calculus AB, Biology, Environmental Science and Statistics.

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