NEWS RELEASES 2015-16 :: SEPTEMBER 4, 2015


More North Carolina high school students are taking Advanced Placement courses and tests and succeeding in these college-level courses, according to the annual College Bound Program Results issued this week by The College Board.

On the SAT, the other college readiness measure provided by The College Board, North Carolina’s performance showed a decline in average scores. This change is similar to the performance of students nationwide.

A total of 67,678 North Carolina students took 125,547 AP exams in 2015. This is 18.7 percent more than the number of students taking AP exams in 2014. Nationally, the number of AP exam takers was up by 6 percent.

Broadening access to college-level courses for qualified students continues to be a priority of North Carolina public school educators and state lawmakers. This year, lawmakers again provided funding to pay for all students’ AP exams in the 2015-16 school year. North Carolina’s participation rate increase in 2015 was strong for all racial groups, ranging from a 16 percent increase for white students to a 45.1 percent increase for American Indian students overall. Black students posted a participation rate increase of 22.8 percent and Asian students’ participated at a rate that is 14 percent higher than in 2014. The percentage of students earning exam grades of 3, 4 or 5 increased by 9 percent overall.

North Carolina’s 2015 seniors posted an average SAT college admission score of 1478, down five points overall from the Class of 2014’s average score, according to the 2015 SAT results today released by The College Board. The national average is 1490 on the Critical Reading, Math and Writing tests that comprise the SAT.

North Carolina’s critical reading score (498) surpassed the nation’s reading score (495). The math score in North Carolina was 504 while the nation’s math average was 511. On the writing test, North Carolina’s average was 476 versus the national average of 484.

The number of seniors taking the SAT in 2015 (58,022) increased slightly from 2014 (57,997). A total of 59 percent of seniors took the exam statewide compared to 64 percent in 2014 and 67 percent in 2011. North Carolina has been considered an SAT state for many years with a majority of college-bound students electing to take this admissions test. However, in 2012, all high school juniors took the ACT for the first time as part of the state’s new READY accountability model. This means that students can use their ACT results for college admission and not have to pay to take a college entrance exam.

The Advanced Placement program offers students the opportunity to pursue college-level coursework while still in high school. Students enrolled in AP courses have the opportunity to take AP exams in May each year, and students who earn scores of 3 or better on the five-point scale can qualify for college credit. Students who do well on AP Exams are more likely to graduate from college on time and have the potential to save time and money through placement and credit policies of colleges and universities.

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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.