Nearly half the students who took Advanced Placement exams this year scored between a 3 and a 5, the state Department of Education announced today. That represents a 6.2 percent increase over 2007. The department also said more students took the exams in 2008 than in 2007.
“These numbers tell us that many of the initiatives in place in Arkansas for several years are working,” said Dr. Jim Purcell, director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, said in a press release.
Mean critical reading scores on the SAT dropped by 3 points to 575; nationally the drop was one point to 479.
The press release is on the jump.
For Immediate Release
10 a.m. August 26, 2008
LITTLE ROCK: More public school students in Arkansas participated in Advanced Placement courses and scored well on Advanced Placement Exams in 2008 than in 2007, in a continued pattern of expanded access and improved performance, the College Board announced today.
“We appreciate news such as this because increased access to Advanced Placement is part of the state’s overall strategy to teach a rigorous, rewarding curriculum to all of our students and increase their likelihood of success in college,” said Dr. Ken James, Arkansas Commissioner of Education.
The College Board also released information concerning scores for the SAT Reasoning Test, which is used in the college admissions process and was taken by about 5% of the 2008 graduating class. (The majority of Arkansas students take the ACT for college admissions.) Both participation in the SAT and average SAT scores remained relatively stable from the previous year.
In 2008, 17,037 public school students in the class of 2008 took AP exams, representing a 5.5 percent increase over the 16,153 students who took the exams the previous year. What’s more, there was a 6.2 percent increase in the number of exam scores of 3 or higher from last year for public school students with 8,005 of the total 28,231 exams taken being scored 3, 4 or 5. On AP exams, a 3 is “Qualified,” a 4 is “Well Qualified,” and a 5 is “Extremely Well Qualified.”
“These numbers tell us that many of the initiatives in place in Arkansas for several years are working,” said Dr. Jim Purcell, director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. “All indications are that we are building a larger and larger pipeline of students who will enter higher education better prepared and positioned for a successful college career and a realistic chance at achieving the American Dream.”
The five Advanced Placement (AP) courses in which exams were taken most often in the state are AP English Language, AP English Literature, AP U.S. History, AP World History, and AP Calculus. As of the 2009-2010 school year, all high schools in the state will be required to offer an AP course or its equivalent in each of the four core areas of English, mathematics, science and social studies. The state also began paying for students taking AP exams in May 2005. Both of these pieces of legislation have garnered national praise for Arkansas because of the increased access they gave public school students to rigorous course work.
The Arkansas public school 2008 graduating students who took the SAT Reasoning Test scored slightly lower than their 2007 counterparts:
• The state’s public school students’ mean score in Critical Reading decreased by three points to 575, as compared with a one point drop in scores nationally to 479.
• The state’s public school students’ mean score in Math remained at 570 as compared with a three point increase in scores nationally to 510.
• The state’s public school students’ mean score in Writing fell seven points to 567 as compared with an unchanged score nationally of 488.
Of the public school students taking the SAT, 87.2 percent enrolled in colleges, according to the College Board, and two-thirds of those attended Arkansas schools. The three colleges and universities in Arkansas receiving the most SAT scores from Arkansas test-takers were the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, the University of Central Arkansas and Hendrix College.
Additional data and national comparisons are available on the accompanying fact sheets for both the cohort of public school students and the cohort of all Arkansas students.
2008 Arkansas Highlights
Advanced Placement Program, PSAT/NMSQT, SAT Reasoning Test
AP Participation and Performance
• The number of Arkansas students taking exams in 2008 was 17,729, representing a 5.5% increase from 2007 (16,804), and 166% from 2004 (6,674)
• The number of exams taken was 29,339, representing an 8% increase from 2007 (27,170), and 164% increase from 2004 (11,112)
• There was a 6.2% increase in the number of exam scores of 3 or higher (8,588) from 2007 (8,084) and an increase of 76% from 2004 ( 4,881)
• 2,265 African American students represented 12.8% of test takers, with 174 students scoring a 3, 4, or 5 on an exam in 2008, an increase of 89% since 2004 (92)
• 728 Hispanic students represented 4.1% of test takers, with 362 students scoring a 3, 4, or 5 on an exam, an increase of 97% since 2004 (184)
• Top 5 AP Programs
1. AP English Language 5047 exams (17% of all exams)
2. AP English Literature 4716 exams (16% of all exams)
3. AP US History 4379 exams (15% of all exams)
4. AP World History 2572 exams (9% of all exams)
5. AP Calculus AB 2000 exams (7% of all exams)
2008 Advanced Placement Possibilities (based on 2007 PSAT/NMSQT Data)
2008 AP Calculus AB Data
Total number of exams 2,000
Total number of exams with scores of 3-5 685
Number of Students Likely to Receive a 3+ 2,856
2008 AP English Literature Data
Total number of exams 4,716
Total number of exams with scores of 3-5 1,491
Cumulative Number of Students Likely to Receive a 3+ 3,056
2008 AP US History Data
Total number of exams 4,379
Total number of exams with scores of 3-5 795
Cumulative Number of Students Likely to Receive a 3+ 2,919
PSAT/NMSQT® Participation and Performance
• There were 6,564 junior test-takers in 2006, a decrease of 6.3 %
• There were 4548 sophomore test-takers in 2006, a decrease of 14.1%
• Score performance of Arkansas juniors and sophomores was higher than the national pool
AR junior score means: Critical Reading: 49.2 Math: 50.0 Writing: 48.9
National junior score means: Critical Reading: 46.8 Math: 48.2 Writing: 45.9
AR sophomore score means: Critical Reading: 44.0 Math: 45.2 Writing: 44.1
National sophomore score means: Critical Reading: 41.9 Math 43.2 Writing: 41.2
SAT® Reasoning Test Participation and Performance
• The number of students taking the SAT from Arkansas in 2008 was 1,467, representing a 5.6% increase from 2007
• The mean Critical Reading score for Arkansas test-takers was 575 in 2008, as compared to 578 Critical Reading in 2007 (-3)
Nationally, Critical Reading scores remained the same (502)
• The mean Math score for Arkansas test-takers was 567 in 2008, as compared to 566 in 2007 (+1) Nationally, Math scores remained the same (515)
• The mean Writing score was 559, as compared to 565 in 2007 (-6))
Nationally, Writing scores remained the same (494)