More state students pass AP examinations

OLYMPIA - Washington continues to see growth in the number of high school students who have passed advanced placement exams, the College Board says.

Washington was mentioned in the organization's 2007 report as one of five states that showed the most expansion of advanced placement success since 2000. The other states were Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina and Florida.

Washington was similarly lauded in last year's report, when it was prominently mentioned as one of six states to show "the greatest amount of positive change."

According to the report released this week, 14.1 percent of Washington's class of 2006 passed an advanced placement test, compared with 7.6 percent of the class of 2000. The class of 2005 saw 13.2 percent of students pass.

Growing participation

The number of students who took part in advanced placement programs has more than doubled, with 23,456 participating in 2006, up from 11,447 in 2001.

The College Board is a not-for-profit membership association that administers the Advanced Placement Program, which includes demanding courses and exams designed to prepare students for college. The program allows high school students to pursue college credits in 22 subject areas.

Many universities require a passing score of 3 or better to receive credit, which is equivalent to midlevel B to midlevel C in college. Nationally, 14.8 percent of last year's seniors scored a 3 or better on at least one advanced placement test.

"This report offers more evidence that we're among the national leaders in creating a public education system that strives for excellence and equity," said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson in a news release.

Rural expansion

The report noted the state's efforts to expand advanced placement programs to rural students through the Advanced Placement Incentive Program, which is administered by Bergeson's agency.

The program will give out $1.3 million in grants during the next three years, giving priority to rural schools where 40 percent or more of the students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.