CONTACT:  Michele Clark
Communications Coordinator

No. 44, No. 72

September 13, 2010

More Missouri High School Students Take AP Tests


A new report indicates more Missouri students are getting smart about earning college credit while in high school.


State and local results for the Advanced Placement program and the SAT college-entry exam were released today by The College Board.  Missouri’s report confirms the steady expansion of the “AP” program in Missouri’s public high schools.


The state report shows that 14,022 high school students took at least one AP exam in 2009-10 – an increase of nearly 9 percent from the previous year.  More black and Hispanic students taking the tests contributed to the statewide gain.


The total number of tests taken is also on the rise.  Volume grew by 9.4 percent, from 20,207 exams taken in 2009 to 22,119 in 2010.


This year’s increase continues a long, steady trend that has seen rising enrollment in the challenging “AP” classes.  Students who elect to take multiple AP courses and exams can earn hours of college credit while in high school, saving a significant amount in tuition expenses and shortening the time it takes to complete a college degree.


Advanced Placement classes are sponsored by The College Board and are available in many high schools nationwide.  At the end of each course, students may take a common exam to qualify for college credit.  Typically, students must earn a score of three or higher on a five-point scale to earn AP credit at a college or university.


Nearly 13,000 tests taken by students in Missouri’s public high schools last year received a score of three or higher.  The state’s 58.4 percent of passing scores outpaces the national figure of 55.7 percent.


Yet Missouri continues to lag behind the nation in the percentage of students taking advantage of AP courses and tests.  In recent years, approximately 15 percent of Missouri’s 11th and 12th grade students took an AP exam, compared to almost 35 percent of students nationally.


“One of the ways we can increase the percentage of our students who are college ready is to increase the number who take Advanced Placement courses and tests,” Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro said.  “It is important we make these high-level courses available to our students to help pave their way to college and to save parents money.”


State SAT Participation, Scores Edge Down

The College Board also publishes the SAT college-entry exam.  Nationally, the class of 2010 was the most diverse group of SAT takers in history of the program, and average SAT college-entry scores remained comparatively unchanged from the previous year.


SAT participation in Missouri continues to decline.  Only 1,330, or 2 percent, of students in the state’s public high schools took the SAT this year.  In comparison, more than 48,000 graduates took the ACT college-entrance exam, representing 69 percent of this year’s class.


SAT scores edged down in 2010, dropping slightly below gains made the previous year.  According to results published by The College Board, students in Missouri public high schools: 

  • posted an average score of 593 on the critical reading portion of the exam – two points lower than in 2009 and 92 points above the national average.
  • scored 595 on the mathematics subtest – five points below last year for the state and 79 points above the national average.
  • scored 580 on the writing subtest – four points below last year for the state and 88 points above the national average.