NC’s Advanced Placement Students Excel in Participation and Performance

North Carolina ranks 18th in the nation in terms of the percentage of high school graduates who scored a 3 or better on at least one Advanced Placement (AP) test taken during high school, according to the AP Cohort Data Report for the Class of 2015. The College Board released this report today.

North Carolina students excel in participation and performance, according to the report. A total of 33,425 or 38.7 percent of North Carolina public and private high school graduates took at least one AP exam in 2015 and posted a passing rate of 21.7 percent. This is an improvement from the passing rate of 20.5 percent in 2014.

Every school district in North Carolina had at least 1 percent of its high school students participating in Advanced Placement courses, and 34 districts posted participation rates of 30 percent or better.

More than half of the AP exams (53.2 percent) taken by students in North Carolina’s Class of 2015 received passing Advanced Placement grades of 3 or higher.

The College Board recognized two school districts in North Carolina on its 6th Annual AP Honor Roll. Elizabeth City-Pasquotank County School District and Union County Public Schools each increased access to AP course work while also increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP exams.

North Carolina public schools have focused on providing greater access to Advanced Placement courses and exams in recent years. In 2014-15, student-testing fees ($91 per test per student) were covered by the state for the first time, removing one potential barrier to student participation. The NC Virtual Public School provides statewide access to 13 Advanced Placement courses to broaden access among students in rural or small high schools that may have more limited course offerings. NCDPI also has worked to support school districts through professional development and technical assistance to broaden access and to increase successful participation in AP programs. In addition, the State Board of Education has developed policy to allow for AP course to satisfy some graduation requirements.

“I want to congratulate students and teachers for both Advanced Placement participation and for strong performance,” said State Superintendent June Atkinson. “AP courses allow students to build college and career skills and to save time and money once they enter college.”

In May of 2015 North Carolina high school students took at total of 74,892 AP exams that resulted in scores of 3, 4 or 5. This represents an estimated 224,676 college credits. At an average rate of $232.43 per credit hour, the total potential cost savings for students and families was $52 million, according to the College Board.

For more information, please contact NCDPI’s Communication division at 919.807.3450.