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Connecticut Students Increase Participation And Performance On AP Exams

Connecticut students are taking more AP exams and performing better on them, according to test results.
Connecticut students are taking more AP exams and performing better on them, according to test results. Photo Credit: Flickr user Albertogpl123

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Public schools students are taking more Advanced Placement exams and performing better on those exams, according to results published by the College Board.

The number of students who took at least one AP exam in 2016-17 rose to 28,961, an increase of 4.9 percent over the 2015-16 school year. Those students took 53,106 exams, an increase of 5.1 percent over the previous year.

Of the exams taken, 36,404 exams achieved a score of three, four or five, which is an increase of 3.6 percent over the 2015-16 school year. These improvement were seen among students from all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

“With graduation rates on the rise and more students demonstrating success on college-level material, Connecticut students continue to overcome challenges and be successful,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said. “We’re also pleased to see that the opportunity gap continues to close with more traditionally under-represented students participating in AP classes. And it underscores the necessity for us to continue to provide vital financial resources to the school districts with the greatest need."

“Improving test scores are important academic barometers, but rising participation levels are equally significant and point to ongoing progress in strengthening our education system for all students,” Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said. 

For the fourth year in a row, the Connecticut State Department of Education paid the remainder of fees not covered by the College Board or the U.S. Department of Education for low-income students to take AP exams in the spring of 2017. This was done to improve access and remove barriers for under-represented student populations, and the CSDE said it will continue to cover this cost.

“It is heartening to see that Connecticut’s educators and counselors are responding to our call through the Connecticut’s Next Generation Accountability System and encouraging greater participation in demanding coursework like AP,” said Department of Education Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell. “Delivering on our promise to prepare all of our students to succeed in college and careers means setting higher expectations for what they should know and be able to do. Access to college-level material, like AP courses, and access to college-entrance exams are important pieces to expanding their opportunities for successful futures." 

Based on the results of the fall 2016 PSAT exams, CSDE sent letters to more than 20,000 students identified as having AP potential, a practice it will also continue. 

The Next Generation Accountability System acknowledges that students may demonstrate their abilities through options other than AP, which is why the system also recognizes participation in International Baccalaureate, duel enrollment, and career and technical education courses, as well as exam performance on the IB, SAT and ACT.

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