The Education Department announced today that Arkansas continues to have more students taking Advanced Placement tests than the country as a whole. It's a result of a legislative initiative to encourage AP course participation. We still have ground to cover in 'pass" rates, scores of three or higher on a five-point scale, but Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell is right in saying that scores alone aren't the only measure of the worth of higher participation in more advanced courses.
EDUCATION NEWS RELEASE
LITTLE ROCK: Today, the College Board announced in its 2010 AP Report to the Nation that approximately one third of the 10,635 students in Arkansas’s class of 2010 taking Advanced Placement (AP) examinations scored a three or higher on a five-point scale. Once again, Arkansas’s percentage of graduating students who take the exam — 34 percent — is higher than the national average of 28.3 percent.
Twelve point five (12.5) percent of Arkansas’s graduating seniors scored a three or higher, up from 11 percent in 2009. “The increase in students scoring well in Arkansas is great news, but the scores alone are not what'simportant," said Arkansas Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell. "It's about more students taking AP and other rigorous courses. Students who take a more rigorous course of study are better prepared for the reality of college and career expectations. They develop a stamina for work and rigor—a critical piece for student success.”
Arkansas has focused on expanding access to Advanced Placement courses and the subsequent examinations. Through on-going professional development, the state is shifting the emphasis to increasing performance as well as access. In addition, the Arkansas Advanced Initiative for Math and Science program, which is operating with a $13.2 million grant through the National Math and Science Initiative, is working with participating high schools throughout the state to increase both participation and scores, especially in the areas of math, science and English.
All information from the College Board regarding the 2010 AP Report to the Nation can be found online at www.collegeboard.com