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More Missouri students earning college credit

The number of Missouri students in public schools who scored a three or higher on advanced placement exams during the 2011-2012 school year increased by 12.2 percent over the previous year, according to The College Board’s Student Achievement Report released Monday. Over the past five years, this number has dramatically increased by 43.8 percent.

“It’s apparent that students are beginning to recognize the benefits of taking AP courses in high school, and we would like to see even more students challenge themselves through college-level content,” said Missouri Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro. “Those who take advantage of advanced courses are better equipped to enter college or other career training programs ready for success.”

Preparing students for life after high school graduation is goal number one of the state’s Top 10 by 20 initiative. Top 10 by 20 calls for all students to graduate college- and career-ready and for Missouri to become one of the top 10 performing states in education by the year 2020.

The test-takers took a total of 24,853 AP exams compared to 22,587 last year, an increase of 10 percent. Of the total number of exams taken in 2011-2012, nearly 63 percent, or 15,653 exams, scored a three or better. Typically, high school students must earn a score of three or higher on a five-point scale for AP exams to earn college or university credit.

The number of Missouri students in public schools who took advanced placement (AP) exams during the 2011-2012 school year was 15,539, an 8.1 percent increase over 14,374 in 2010-2011. Over the past five years, the number of test-takers has increased by 39 percent.

The positive trend was also reflected nationally with over 1.8 million students taking AP exams (a 6.4 percent rise over the previous year) and more than 3.1 million exams taken (a seven percent increase over the previous year).

The College Board administers the AP program.

The 2011-2012 Student Achievement Report also included SAT participation and performance. The number of Missouri public school students who took the SAT showed a slight .09 percent decrease from 1,678 to 1,663 students.

The SAT program uses a 200- to 800-point scale. Although students taking the SAT in Missouri represent approximately 3 percent of those enrolled in public schools throughout the state, those who do participate perform well. All three of these average scores remain well above the national averages of 491 in critical reading, 505 in mathematics and 481 in writing. More than 1.2 million students took the SAT nationwide.

The majority of students who take a college-entrance exam in Missouri generally take the ACT. Comparatively speaking, 75 percent or 49,222 students took the ACT exam in 2012.

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