NEWS RELEASES 2009-10 :: FEBRUARY 10, 2010


North Carolina is one of 16 states in which the percentage of students that scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam exceeds the national average according to a report released by the College Board today.

A total of 24,563 (29.1%) students from North Carolina's public high school class of 2009 took at least one AP exam during high school. This number exceeds the national average of 26.5% and represents an increase of 6,473 students from 2004. A total of 14,697 students (17.4%) from the class of 2009 earned a score of 3 or higher on at least one AP exam. This number represents an increase of 3,874 students from 2004 and exceeds the national average of 15.9%.

"National research shows that students who score a 3 or higher on an AP exam are more likely to graduate better-prepared for college-level coursework," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "I commend our teachers for preparing so many high school students for success in their next step of education by helping them excel in these challenging courses."

The 10 most popular exams taken by the high school class of 2009 were U.S. History, English Language, English Literature, Environmental Science, Psychology, Calculus AB, Statistics, Biology, Government and Politics: U.S., and European History.

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 continue to increase. The NCDPI continues to receive grant funding to help expand access for minority students, rural students and others who are under-represented in these courses. In addition, the North Carolina Virtual Public School currently offers 20 online AP courses to high school students across the state.

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 160 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.