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Susanne Smith, (503) 947-5637

February 4, 2009

Oregon Ranks Top Five in Nation for Increased Access & Performance in AP Program

SALEM – State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo announced today that the College Board’s fifth annual Advanced Placement Report to the Nation reports that Oregon ranks 5th in the nation for increasing both access to AP courses and student performance by 5% over a five-year period. Thirteen percent of Oregon’s public school students in the class of 2008 achieved an AP Exam grade of 3 or better. This is an increase over the 11% in 2007 and 8% in 2003. An AP exam score of 3 or higher is considered predictive of college success and recognized by most colleges for credit.

“This is great news for our state and proves our hard work to expand student participation in higher-level learning is starting to pay off,” said Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Public Schools. “When we ask more of our students, we get more and so do they. Increased student participation in AP and other accelerated coursework is a vital component to ensuring all our students graduate ready for life after high school.”

The report reflects Oregon’s continued commitment to closing the achievement gap. The percentage of Hispanic students who took at least one AP exam has grown from 4% of the Oregon AP test takers in 2003 to 6% in 2008. The percentage of Hispanic students scoring at least one grade of 3 or higher has grown from 4.5% to 5% during that same period. Participation for African American and Native American students remained relatively flat.

Oregon has set a goal to significantly increase the opportunities for low-income students for pre-AP and AP courses and curriculum, and public high schools in Oregon have seen growth in overall AP Exam participation and success:
• 6,919 Oregon students from the class of 2008 took at least one AP Exam during high school compared to 6,122 in 2007 and 4,046 in 2003.
• 4,263 Oregon students from the class of 2008 earned a 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam compared to 3,815 in 2007 and 2,638 in 2003.

“True equity will not be achieved in our classrooms until accelerated coursework is the standard and all students, regardless of race or income-level, are given opportunities to participate in rigorous curriculum,” said Castillo. “I want to encourage our schools to continue to take advantage of the resources like AP Potential and AP test fee reduction services to increase student participation in their districts.”

AP Potential is a free service available to districts through College Board to help boost minority participation. The program uses PSAT data to predict AP performance. This year, there was a 96% increase in PSAT participation. 51,485 Oregon students took the PSAT, up from 26,472 the previous year.

The Oregon Department of Education offers supplemental funding to districts to pay for AP and International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations through the AP Test Fee Program through grants from the USDOE. The program was used to pay for 2,177 AP and 556 IB examinations in 2007-2008.

The full AP Report to the Nation is online at http://www.collegeboard.com

Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Gene Evans, Communications Director, Telephone (503) 947-5737

Oregon Department of Education News Releases contain information that was originally released to the press as an official release.  Refer to each News Release for the details.


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