Georgia continues to see rise in AP participation by high school students

My twins are 10th graders this year and taking their first AP classes.

I have been stunned at the amount of work involved, especially in AP Chem and the AP Chem lab. My husband – a former high school chemistry whiz kid -- says the work is not only more than what he had in AP Chem in his suburban New York high school, but more than his chemistry course as a Harvard freshman.

My older kids took AP but I don’t recall the level of work being as intense as it seems to be for my younger ones. But neither of my older kids attempted AP Chem as a sophomore.

More Georgia teens are taking AP courses. Some posters insist the surge in AP participation has led to a dilution of the rigor, but I don't find any research support for that contention. Kids who do well in AP and on the AP exam do well in college. That has not changed with the increase in AP students.

Here is a release from the state Department of Education on AP courses in Georgia:

In 2014, 89,806 Georgia students took 154,176 AP exams – an eight percent increase in the number of students participating, and an 8.9 percent increase in the number of exams taken. The number of tests with scores of 3, 4, or 5 (the scores needed to gain college credit at most institutions) increased by 9.6 percent, to a total of 86,075.

Nationwide, the number of test-takers increased by 5.6 percent and the number of tests with scores of 3, 4, or 5 increased by 6.3 percent.

"No matter which metric you examine, Georgia's performance is improving on Advanced Placement exams – which is excellent news, because it means more students are taking advantage of the opportunity to access rigorous, college-level coursework and gain credit toward post-secondary education," State Superintendent Dr. John Barge said.

"I am thrilled to see participation and scores going up across the board in Georgia, and among every minority group reported by the College Board. We know that our top students are competitive nationally – now it's time to expand that opportunity to all Georgia students."

English Language and Composition was the most popular AP exam among Georgia test-takers, with 18,108 students taking the exam. United States History and World History followed, with 17,720 and 15,200 test-takers, respectively.

Participation and scores have risen steadily in the last five years. In 2009-10, Georgia students took 118,367 AP exams. That number rose to 120,706 in 2010-11, 132,266 in 2011-12, 141,528 in 2012-13 and 154,176 in 2013-14..

In 2009-10, 62,313 scores of 3, 4, or 5 were recorded in Georgia. That number rose to 65,818 in 2010-11, 74,077 in 11-12, 78,543 in 2012-13 and 86,075 in 2013-14.

The number of Georgia's minority students taking AP exams increased this year, as did the number of those students scoring 3, 4, or 5. The number of test-takers increased by 11.6 percent among American Indian students, 9.7 percent among Asian students, 9.9 percent among black students, 19.5 percent among Mexican American students, 11.2 percent among Puerto Rican students, and 11.1 percent among other Hispanic students.

The number of scores above 3, 4, or 5 increased by 10.9 percent among American Indian students, 12 percent among Asian students, 12.2 percent among black students, 11.9 percent among Mexican American students, 1.9 percent among Puerto Rican students, and 7.2 percent among other Hispanic students.​