"Based on College Board reports, from 2008 to 2011, the number of Bartow County students participating in AP exams increased from 277 to 284," Bartow County Coordinator for Testing and Achievement Paul Sabin said in an email. "During this same period of time, the data has shown an 8.3 percent increase in the number of students scoring a 3 or higher for Bartow County.
"Continued success in AP classes and on AP exams will provide Bartow County Students with challenging curriculum and course work. Students successful in these course will be prepared for high level subject matter following high school. As a school system, it is our goal to provide rigorous curriculum and prepare students for post-secondary options."
The reports show an increase in the number of Cartersville students taking the AP exam from 91 to 198 between 2008 and 2011, with 49 percent of students passing compared to 70 percent in 2010. However, Assistant Superintendent Ken Clouse said 2011 was the worst year for scores on the test. He specifically cited the number of students between 2010 and 2011 who passed the U.S. History exam decreased from 45 to 16, or from 94 to 34 percent.
"We normally have [scores] in the upper [80th and 90th percentile], but we had a teacher retire and hired someone else to teach that class and it just didn't work out, so we've made another change this year," Clouse said. "... For the last several years we've been in the 70th percentile of kids getting a 3 or higher [composite score]."
AP classes and exams are administered by the College Board, which also administers the SAT. The classes offer rigorous college-level learning options to students in high school. Students who receive a 3, 4 or 5 on AP exams may receive college credit.
"More Georgia students than ever before are taking AP courses and passing the exam," State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said in a press release. "Success on AP exams means that students are prepared for college and careers, which is our ultimate goal."
Gov. Nathan Deal added, "Our state's excellent performance on AP exams demonstrates our success in cultivating excellence. With hard work and perseverance, young Georgians have the tools to achieve their dreams. Students who earn passing grades on Advanced Placement tests get a jump start on college and, in the long run, they help the state. These students represent the 'best and brightest' and are the future economic engines of Georgia. They also save our colleges and universities money by earning class credits."
State Efforts to Increase AP Participation
According to the release, "From 2003-2010, the Georgia Legislature approved funds to pay for students to take at least one AP exam per year. For those seven years, economically disadvantaged students had all of their AP exams paid for each year. Budget cuts reduced that support to only one AP exam for economically disadvantaged students in May 2011 and that support remains in place for the May 2012 exams.
"The Georgia Department of Education has organized the distribution of AP Teacher Training Grants. Since 2006, GaDOE has funded approximately $1,302,693.00 in grant awards to train 1,837 new AP teachers. These awards have allowed 899 new AP courses to be offered in public high schools throughout the state. It is anticipated that in 2012 an additional 100 AP teachers will be trained.
"The GaDOE has sponsored regional workshops for teachers of AP for the past four years. These workshops are led by master teachers of AP in Georgia high schools. To date, over 2,426 AP teachers have participated in these course-specific workshops.
"The Georgia Virtual Schools continues to add AP classes, increasing access to students throughout the state, including those that might not otherwise be able to take an AP class. More than 1,300 students took an AP course with GAVS for the 2011-12 school year."
The AP Report to the Nation looks at data for 2011 high school seniors.
Greater benefit from the exam
* 19.8 percent (16,476) of students from Georgia's public high school class of 2011 scored 3 or higher on at least one AP exam during high school (ranking Georgia 13th in the nation), compared to 18.1 percent for the nation.
* 38.2 percent (31,764) of students from Georgia's public high school class of 2011 took at least one AP exam during high school, compared to 26 percent (19,492) from the class of 2006 and 19.7 percent (12,332) from the class of 2001.
* Georgia is 12th in the nation when comparing the 10-year increase of seniors scoring a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam (9 percent growth compared to 7.3 percent for the nation).
* The number of African-American graduates who took at least one AP exam during high school nearly doubled since the class of 2006, from 3,940 to 7,878. The number of these students who scored 3 or higher on at least one AP exam more than doubled, from 1,004 to 2,076.
* 12.6 percent (2,076) of African-American students from Georgia's public high school class of 2011 scored 3 or higher on at least one AP exam during high school (ranking Georgia 2nd in the nation), compared to 4.1 percent for the nation.
Greater participation from low-income graduates
* The number of low-income graduates who took at least one AP exam during high school nearly quadrupled, from 1,905 in the class of 2006 to 7,260 in the class of 2011. The number of these students who scored 3 or higher on at least one AP exam increased five times from 509 to 2,546.
* The number of Hispanic/Latino graduates who took at least one AP exam during high school nearly tripled since the class of 2006, from 778 to 2,247 in the class of 2011. The number of these students who scored 3 or higher on at least one AP exam more than doubled during that time, from 492 to 1,245.
* 7.1 percent of Georgia's graduating class of 2011 was Hispanic/Latino, and 7.6 percent of successful AP exam takers from the 2011 graduating class were Hispanic/Latino. Georgia has achieved 100 percent AP equity and excellence for the Hispanic/Latino students.
* The 10 most popular AP exams taken by Georgia public high school graduates during high school, in descending order of popularity, were U.S. History, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, World History, Psychology, U.S. Government and Politics, Calculus AB, Statistics, Biology and Macroeconomics.
Only five other states in the country had a greater percentage of AP exam takers last year. The percentage of Georgia seniors who took an AP exam was 38.2 percent, compared to 30.2 percent for the nation.