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Mississippi Students Increase Advanced Placement Participation, Achievemen

September 28, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippi saw growth in all three major categories of Advanced Placement (AP) participation and performance, with 8,207 students taking AP exams in the 2015-16 school year. The number is a 23.1 percent increase over the previous school year.

Students took 12,455 AP exams in 2015-16, which is an increase of 22.8 percent over the previous year. The number of students achieving an AP score of 3 or higher increased 11.1 percent to 3,707. 

Students who score 3 or higher on an AP exam can receive college credit from the college or university where they enroll. In addition, research shows that students achieving a 3 or higher on an AP exam perform well in subsequent college courses, take more college courses in the same discipline and are more likely to graduate from college within four years. 

“The AP experience is beneficial even if students do not earn a qualifying score on the AP exam because it exposes students to college-level material,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “AP classes help students develop their study skills and understand what is expected to be successful in college. Students who earn qualifying scores on AP exams may reduce the cost of their college education.”

The Mississippi Department of Education implemented an AP Initiative in 2015-16 to increase statewide participation in AP courses. The effort includes raising awareness about AP benefits, increasing access to AP opportunities and providing AP-focused professional development for teachers, principals and counselors. Participation in AP and other accelerated courses will be a factor in the 2015-16 accountability grades.

Since the launch of the AP Initiative, the number of AP scholar awards increased 48 percent, jumping from 585 in 2014-15 to 864 in 2015-16. AP scholar awards are given to students who earn qualifying scores on multiple AP exams.

The AP Initiative also includes a focus on subgroup performance and equity in AP access. In 2015-16, AP exam participation increased 37.9 percent for minority students, 18.7 percent for African-American students and 26.4 percent for students using an exam fee subsidy.

The U.S. Department of Education provides Mississippi with a grant that subsidizes the cost of AP exams for students from low-income families. In 2015-16, 71.6 percent of students qualified for the subsidy, but only 27.3 percent of students took an AP exam using the fee subsidy.

“We need to offer challenging learning opportunities to all students and strongly encourage them to participate,” Wright said. “Mississippi students are positioned for continued growth and success in AP. There is no limit to what they can achieve.”

Media Contact: 
Patrice Guilfoyle, APR
Director of Communications

Jean Cook, APR
Communications Specialist