by Max Brantley
The state Education Department reports continued improvement in Arkansas students' participation and scores on Advanced Placement tests, given to students in accelerated courses.
There was a sharp increase in the percent scoring at 3 or higher on the 5-point scale and the increase continues to grow sharply among minority students. See the jump for full details.
The Department also released figures on SAT scores, which dropped a bit, but a small number of Arkansas students, many heading to the most competitive universities, take these tests and generally outperform the country as a whole
In Arkansas, Advanced Placement courses continue to prepare students for college and career success. The state saw another increase in the number of public school students taking AP examinations in the 2011-2012 school year as well as overall better performance on those tests, the College Board announced today.
“This is great news and evidence that Arkansas students are embracing the rigorous coursework and what it means to be ready for college and careers,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Tom Kimbrell.
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 four percent of the 2012 graduating class. (The majority of Arkansas students take the ACT for college admissions.) Both participation in the SAT and average SAT scores decreased slightly from the previous year.
Specifics regarding Advanced Placement include:
* The number of test takers increased by 7.4 percent to 22,857 in 2012.
* The number of tests administered increased by 8.6 percent to 39,548.
* The number of tests with scores of 3, 4 or 5 (on a scale of 1 to 5) increased by 11.8
percent to 12,241.
* Of the 3,069 African-American students (13.4 percent of test takers) taking AP exams, 469 students scored a 3, 4 or 5 on 4,964 exams for a 123.3 percent increase since 2007.
* Of the 1,696 Hispanic students (7.4 percent of test takers) taking AP exams, 813 students scored a 3, 4 or 5 on 2,945 exams for a 133.6 percent increase since 2007.
“Arkansas is making college and career readiness a priority for all students by adopting the Common Core State Standards—academic standards aligned with college- and career-ready expectations,” said Dr. Kimbrell. “Preparing students to succeed in college without remediation is important to parents, to employers and to the broader community.”
Regarding the 2012 SAT, the College Board reported that 994 public school students took the test for a 6.8 percent drop from 2007. Scores also fell slightly from 2011 to 2012:
* The state’s public school students’ mean score in Critical Reading decreased by three points to 565, as compared with a two-point drop in scores nationally to 491.
* The state’s public school students’ mean score in Math fell six points to 567 as compared with a one-point drop in scores nationally of 505.
The state’s public school students’ mean score in Writing fell six points to 547 as compared with a one-point drop in scores nationally to 481.