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College Board: Virginia among leaders in AP tests

By Karen Goff

Thursday - 2/13/2014, 3:00pm  ET

Herndon High School/File photoVirginia has the third-highest number of Advanced Placement test-takers in the nation, according to a new report from the College Board.

The College Board, which has one of its main offices in Reston, says 28.3 percent of Virginia students took an AP test and scored at least a 3 on it. Only Maryland (29.3 percent) and Connecticut (28.8) had more students taking AP tests, says the 10th Annual AP report to the Nation, released on Tuesday.

The United States average is 20.1 percent.

The College Board says that AP test takers, when compared to other students, earn higher GPAs in college; perform as well or better in subsequent college courses in the discipline than non-AP students who took the introductory class in college; take more—not less—college course work in the discipline; are more likely to graduate college within five years; and have higher graduation rates.

While Herndon High offers a full slate of AP classes and tests, South Lakes High School offers just one — AP U.S. Government. SLHS is mainly an International Baccalaureate school. IB is also a rigorous academic program, but the AP-vs.-IB school debate has been going on in Reston for years.

Other facts from the College Board report:

* In the Class of 2013, there were 1,003,430 AP test takers nationwide. That is an increase of more than a half-million seniors since 2003.

* The number of low-income senior examinees rose from 58,489 in 2003 to 217,375 in 2013.

“In other words, the expansion of AP has nearly doubled the number of students who have been given access to the opportunity of AP, more than quadrupled the number of low-income graduates who have been given this opportunity and the expansion has resulted in a larger increase in successful AP experiences than not, a tribute to the educators who have  worked hard to prepare many more students and to the students who have embraced the opportunity,” says the report.

Access the College Board’s full report here.