Number of N.J. High School Students Passing Advanced Placement Exams Doubles in a Decade

February 8, 2012

The number of New Jersey public high school graduates who passed Advanced Placement exams during high school grew to 19,486 for the Class of 2011, nearly double the number a decade earlier.

While the percentage of high school students taking AP courses rose across the state, reflecting a national trend, participation by New Jersey’s poor, blacks and Hispanics continued to lag significantly behind that of their wealthier, white or Asian peers.

In its annual report on the AP program, issued Wednesday, the College Board renewed its call for more students — and a more diverse set of students — to pursue college-level AP courses, saying those who pass the rigorous exams fare better academically in college and are more likely to earn college degrees. A passing score is 3 on a 5-point scale.

Some highlights for New Jersey’s Class of 2011:

  • About 27 percent took at least one AP exam during high school.
  • About 20 percent passed at least one AP exam, up from 13 percent a decade before.
  • The number of poor students who took at least one AP exam nearly doubled in five years, to 3,001. Of those, 1,500 passed at least one.
  • 1,639 black students took at least one AP exam, and 631 passed at least one.
  • 2,999 Hispanic students took AP classes, and 1,897 passed at least one exam.