Education officials in Arkansas say the number of students in the state taking Advanced Placement tests has increased by 6.6 percent in 2013.
According to the College Board, the nonprofit entity that provides SAT and AP exams, Arkansas’s overall scores on AP tests have also improved with an 8.6 percent increase in the number of exams with a score of 3 or higher out of a possible 5.
Mary Kathryn Stein oversees AP programs for the state’s Education Department.
“Arkansas is definitely performing better than the national average in the categories of test-taking and improved performance and that’s something that we can be proud of,” Stein said.
Stein admits the improvements were a result of additional teacher training and an increase in the number of pre-AP classes offered at the junior-high level.
The upsurge in AP test participation has been attributed to Act 2152 of 2005, which made Arkansas the only state in the country that pays for the exams.
“In the last few years, our participation rates have gone up each year and more students are making qualifying scores of 3, 4, and 5. We have remarkable results from students,” said Stein.
According to the College Board, the most popular AP exams in Arkansas in 2013 were English language, English literature, U.S. history, world history and calculus.
State education officials note every high school in the state offers students a minimum of four AP classes in the core areas of English, social studies, math and science.