Skip to Main Content

Press Release: Maryland's Advanced Placement Streak Reaches 10 Years In A Row

State Students Again Rank Number One In Success On Rigorous Exam; Participation Also Rises

For Immediate Release                                       

Contact: Bill Reinhard, 410-767-0486, 410-241-7108 (cell)

Baltimore, MD (February 24, 2016)

Maryland students have led the nation in success on the Advanced Placement (AP) exams for 10 consecutive years, according to new data from the College Board.

The percentage of Maryland seniors who earned a score of 3 or higher on one or more AP exams broke 30 percent for the second consecutive year -- 31.7 percent in 2015.  That represents a slight dip from 31.8 registered in 2014 but a big jump from 2005, when 20.6 percent of Maryland seniors scored a 3 or higher.  That was the last year Maryland did not lead the nation on AP success.

A score of 3 or better is the threshold at which many higher education institutions award college credit tor high school students on an AP assessment. 

“Congratulations to Maryland students and educators for continuing to lead the nation in Advanced Placement assessment achievement,” said Governor Larry Hogan.  “AP offers our students a rich and rigorous program of study, and the success of our students will help fuel further accomplishments in college and the workplace.”

Maryland is followed by Massachusetts with 31.5 percent of seniors receiving a 3 or higher.  Florida, Connecticut, and California all had more than 30 percent of seniors scoring a 3 or higher.  The national average was 22.4, up from 21.6 percent in 2014.

"As Maryland educators seek to prepare our students for life beyond high school, the AP program provides students with a strong foundation for the future,” said Interim State Superintendent of Schools Jack R. Smith. “The latest data from the College Board provide us with much to celebrate, but also spotlights where we need to improve.  All students should have the opportunity to succeed in rich educational programs.”

The new statistics are included in AP cohort data the College Board recently released for the class of 2015.  The data release replaced “The AP Report to the Nation” in 2014, which the organization had published for the previous decade.

The College Board’s new analysis of the college-level assessment program provides a variety of information on efforts taking place in Maryland schools.  For example:

  • More than half of all Maryland high school graduates take at least one AP exam while in high school, and that tally has nearly doubled over the past decade.  In 2005, 30.7 percent of Maryland graduates had taken at least one AP exam during their high school career.  By 2015, 51 percent of seniors were taking at least one of the rigorous exams.  Only the District of Columbia (70.1 percent), Florida (57.7 percent), and Arkansas (51.1) had higher rates of participation.
  • The number of Maryland high school seniors who scored a 3 or better on an AP exam  increased from 11,180 in 2005 to 17,314 in 2015.
  • Maryland’s low income students in the Class of 2015 were underrepresented in the AP program.  While 42.8 percent of Maryland seniors were eligible for free or reduced-price meals they only comprised 20.9 percent of AP test takers, and 16.5 percent of those who received a grade of 3 or better.

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program, which began in 1955, allows students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. Students of different interests and backgrounds can choose from more than 30 courses to demonstrate their knowledge of rigorous academic curriculum. More information about the AP program is available here.