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Vol. 45, No. 76

Sept. 14, 2011

Participation Edges Up in AP, SAT Exams

State and national results for the Advanced Placement Program® and SAT® college-entry exams were released today by The College Board.

Missouri’s 2010-2011 Student Achievement Report confirmed the steady expansion of the AP program in high schools across the state. Missouri graduates took more than 29,000 AP exams during their high school careers, an increase of nearly 2 percent over the class of 2010. In the past five years, the number of AP exams taken by Missouri students has increased by more than 40 percent.

"Missouri students are clearly recognizing the benefits of the AP experience," said Sharon Hoge, assistant commissioner in the Office of College and Career Readiness at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. "Successful completion of rigorous AP classes has proven to be a key indicator in both college admission and college success."

In 2011, Missouri students not only participated in more Advanced Placement tests, but also achieved higher scores, which means more students are earning college credit after taking advance-level courses in high school.

Typically, students must earn a score of three or higher on a five-point scale to earn AP credit at most colleges and universities across the state and nation. More than 11,500 Missouri high school graduates -- nearly 700 more than last year and 3,000 more than five years ago -- earned a score of 3 or better on at least one AP test.

"We are pleased that more students are reaching for excellence in their education,” Hoge said. “An increase in students choosing to take these challenging courses should ensure that Missouri is on track to reach its goal to be among the Top 10 states in student achievement by the year 2020."

The number of students participating in the SAT also increased in 2011. This halted a five-year decline in participation. More than 3,200 graduates took the college-entrance exam compared to 2,930 the previous year, nearly a 4 percent increase. Nationally, more than 1.6 million graduates took the SAT exam this year, an overall increase of 3.1 percent. The College Board reports this year’s SAT-takers were the largest and most diverse class in history.

Average SAT scores for the state’s college-bound seniors were largely unchanged from 2010, but dropped slightly with the increased number of test-takers. According to results published by The College Board, Missouri graduates:
• Posted an average score of 592 on the critical reading portion of the exam – one point lower than 2010;
• Scored 593 on the mathematics subtest – two points lower than 2010;
• Scored an average score of 579 on the writing portion of the exam – 1 point lower than 2010.

The national mean score for Critical Reading was 494, for Mathematics, 506 and for Writing, 483.

Over the past 10 years, Missouri students’ mathematics and reading scores have experienced a slow, upward trend and are now 15 to 16 points higher than in 2001.