Washington students take more AP exams

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Washington students are taking -- and passing -- more Advanced Placement exams, according to state school officials.

The numbers come from a national report released Wednesday.

The College Board’s eighth annual “AP Report to the Nation” shows that 19,162 Washington students, or 29.8 percent of the class of 2011, took at least one AP exam. That's 866 more students that took the test the year before, and nearly 6,000 more than in 2006.

AP courses are college-level classes taught in high school. Exams are scored on a five-point scale. Students who score a three or higher generally get college credit for the high school course.

Scores by Washington students increased too -- by 9.3 percent points between 2001 and 2011. That increase pushed Washington to eighth place among all states. The national average increase for the same period was 7.3 percent.

AP exams are offered in 34 subjects and taken in May. The most popular AP exams in Washington are English language, U.S. history, English literature, calculus AB, U.S. government and politics, biology, world history, statistics, chemistry and European history, in that order.

Washington ranked 17th in the nation with the greatest number of 12th-graders -- 18.4 percent -- scoring three or greater on AP exams. Maryland was first at 27.9 percent. The national average was 18.1 percent.

You can download a copy of the full report here