Record number of Illinois students take AP exams

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Twice as many Illinois seniors take AP exam than a decade ago


Springfield, Il – The Illinois State Board of Education today announced a record number of Illinois students took AP exams in 2010, according to the seventh annual AP Report to the Nation. The percent of Illinois graduates completing more than one AP exam has more than doubled since 2001, and nearly twice as many seniors in 2010 posted a successful score on an AP exam than those graduating a decade ago.

Illinois ranked in the upper half of the nation in 2010 for the number of high school seniors – 17.2 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 the state begins implementing more rigorous college and career-ready standards.

“The gains that Illinois students have made in terms of AP participation and success is another sign that our students are moving in the right direction and taking more challenging coursework to prepare them for college and careers,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “We expect these gains to continue as we implement Illinois’ new, internationally-benchmarked learning standards.’’

Illinois ranked 16th 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 more than 6 percentage points since 2001 when 11 percent of students scored a 3 or higher. More than a quarter of all high school seniors in the Class of 2010 took at least one AP exam during high school.

Last year, the Board adopted the more rigorous internationally-benchmarked Common Core Standards in English and mathematics. Science standards are currently being developed. Illinois is 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.

Homewood-Flossmoor Community High School in Flossmoor, a southern suburb of Chicago, was singled out in the AP Report to the Nation for having the greatest number of African American students from the Class of 2010 scoring 3 or higher on the AP Psychology exam. Over time, increasing numbers of African American and Latino students are participating in AP.


·  In Illinois, Hispanic or Latino high school seniors in 2010 represent 15.1 percent of the AP examinee population, up from 7.9 percent in 2001. The percent of Hispanic seniors scoring successfully on an AP exam grew from 11.7 percent in 2009 to 12.3 percent last year.

 ·   Nationally, Black or African American high school seniors represent 8.6 percent of the AP examinee population. In Illinois, Black or African American seniors in 2010 represent 11.6 percent of the AP examinee population, up from 5 percent in 2001.


·  More low-income students are participating and experiencing success in AP than ever before. Nationally, 21.1 percent of seniors in 2010 that took an AP exam while in high school were from low-income families, up from 15.9 percent in the Class of 2006.  In Illinois, 23.6 percent of seniors taking the test in 2010 were from low-income families, up from 15.9 percent in the Class of 2006.  

Other highlights of the seventh annual AP Report to the Nation:


·  Across the state, 16.8 percent of the graduating Class of 2010 took at least one social science AP exam – more than in any other subject area.  

·    The most popular AP exam in Illinois for the graduating class of 2010 was U.S. History with 12,259 tests taken compared to Chemistry with 4,089 tests taken.


·    In Illinois, 56.5 percent of examinees from the Class of 2010 were female, compared to 56.7 percent nationally.

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