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Colorado ranks ninth for high scores on AP exams

Colorado ranked ninth in the country for the number of students scoring highly enough on Advanced Placement exams to be eligible for college credit, according to a new report released Tuesday.

The exam scores, which are administered by the College Board, are supposed to test mastery of college-level studies. The exams are scored on a scale of one to five –a score three of better can qualify a student for college credit.

Colorado’s students have ranked in the top 10 for performance on the exams for the past seven years. This year, almost 40 percent of Colorado students took at least one AP exam, higher than the national average of 33. Of those, 62.2 percent receive a three or better on at least one exam.

The number of students taking AP exams in Colorado increased this year as well, to 19,446. The state has seen a steady increase over the past decade in the number of students in all groups taking the exams.

Other highlights for Colorado include:

  • The number of low-income students taking the exam increased slightly from 16.4 to 16.5 percent. The number of low-income students receiving a three or better saw a slightly bigger bump, from 12.1 to 12.4 percent.
  • The gap between the number of white and minority students taking the exams remains large. Over 40 percent of white students took at least one AP exam in 2013, compared with 25 percent of Latino students and 32 percent of African American students.
  • Many more black and Hispanic students are scoring highly than in the past. Despite relatively constant enrollment (4.4 percent in 2003 vs. 4.7 percent in 2013), the number of African American students receiving a three or better more than tripled.
  • The number of students in all groups taking the exams have more than doubled since the organization’s first report in 2003. For some, that number has more than tripled.

For more information, see the full report here.