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NEWS RELEASES 2008-09 :: FEBRUARY 4, 2009


Thousands more North Carolina students now take and succeed on Advanced Placement (AP) exams than in 2003, according to a report released by the College Board today. In the "5th Annual AP Report to the Nation," North Carolina is identified as one of 17 states in which the percentage of students in the class of 2008 that scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam exceeds the national average.

A total of 23,783 (28.4%) students from the North Carolina's public high school class of 2008 took at least one AP exam during high school, creating an increase of 6,913 students (up 4.2%) from 2003. A total of 14,519 students (17.3%) from the class of 2008 earned a score of 3 or higher on at least one AP exam. This number represents an increase of 4,195 students (up 2.5%) from 2003 and exceeds the national average of 15.2%.

"This new report shows that North Carolina educators are doing an outstanding job preparing high school students for college-level coursework as evidenced by their performance on these challenging national exams," said Rebecca Garland, NC Department of Public Instruction associate state superintendent and chief academic officer.

The increase in North Carolina students' access to and success on AP exams is especially important since nationwide research shows that students who score a 3 or higher on AP exams typically experience greater academic success in college and are more likely to graduate in four years or less than non-AP students.

The latest AP report also shows that the numbers of low-income, African American, and Hispanic students taking and succeeding on AP exams in North Carolina have increased significantly since 2003. NCDPI has received grant funding to help widen access for minority students, rural students and others who are under-represented in these courses. Also, North Carolina has used the NC Virtual Public School as a vehicle for providing greater access to AP and other college-level coursework.

Advanced Placement courses are college-level courses offered in 37 subject areas and assessed through the annual AP exams. These exams are graded on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest score. Most colleges and universities in the United States and in North Carolina use AP exam results in their admissions process and may give college credit to students earning grades of 3, 4 or 5.

To review the College Board's complete report, visit . For more information, please contact the NC Department of Public Instruction's Communications division at 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.