AP pass rate holds steady in Georgia despite COVID

Georgia’s public-school class of 2020 has the 17th-highest Advanced Placement (AP) pass rate in the nation, according to data released by the College Board today. Georgia’s AP pass rate, and its rank among other states, stayed the same from the class of 2019 to the class of 2020 – an encouraging indicator given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the latter group of students.
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Georgia’s public-school class of 2020 has the 17th-highest Advanced Placement (AP) pass rate in the nation, according to data released by the College Board today. Georgia’s AP pass rate, and its rank among other states, stayed the same from the class of 2019 to the class of 2020 – an encouraging indicator given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the latter group of students.

State superintendent: ‘This is good news as we continue our work to expand advanced learning opportunities to all students’

The Georgia Department of Education announced today that College Board data show the state’s public-school class of 2020 has the 17th-highest Advanced Placement pass rate in the nation.

DOE said it is heartened that Georgia’s AP pass rate, and its national ranking stayed the same from the class of 2019 to the class of 2020, calling it an encouraging indicator given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on schools last spring.

In response to the pandemic and the March shutdown of U.S. schools, students took modified AP exams in May. The tests were online and pared down to 45 minutes. Each subject’s exam was taken on the same day at the same time, worldwide, to limit cheating.

Typically taken by high school juniors and seniors, AP courses offer advanced coursework considered on par with college-level intro classes. Students who take the voluntary, end-of-course exam can also earn credit for a college class, enabling completion of a degree in less time and with less money. (Some high schools require students in AP take the exams, and pick up the $95 cost of the tests. There are also fee waivers for low-income students.)

“I’m so proud of the class of 2020 for their continued accomplishments, and extremely pleased to see that Georgia’s students maintained their strong performance on AP exams even given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in their final year,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “In a challenging time for schools and students, this is good news as we continue our work to expand advanced learning opportunities to all students.”

According to DOE:

The percentage of students earning a 3 or higher on an AP exam was 23.2 percent for Georgia’s class of 2020, as it was for the class of 2019. Georgia students recorded stronger AP performance than most Southern states, scoring higher than their peers in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.

The percentage of low-income AP test-takers who scored 3 or higher increased in Georgia for the second year in a row, rising from 43.7 percent for the class of 2019 to 49.4 percent for the class of 2020. This figure is based on the performance of students who used an AP exam fee reduction, which states look to as a marker of equitable participation for low-income students.

Overall, 38.5 percent of Georgia’s class of 2020 took an AP exam while in high school. This is a slight decrease compared to the class of 2019 – of those students, 40.5 percent took at least one AP exam. The national participation rate dropped slightly as well, from 39.9 to 38.3 percent.

Additionally, Superintendent Woods today named the 2021 Advanced Placement (AP) Honor Schools.

“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to this year’s AP Honor Schools,” Superintendent Woods said. “I commend them for their hard work to build strong Advanced Placement programs and, as a result, provide high-quality opportunities for Georgia students.”

Categories (click the links to see awarded schools in each category):

AP Access and Support Schools

Schools with at least 30 percent of AP exams taken by students who identified themselves as African-American and/or Hispanic and 30 percent of all AP exams earning scores of 3 or higher

AP Challenge Schools

Schools with enrollments of 900 or fewer students and students testing in English, math, science, and social studies

AP Schools of Distinction

Schools with at least 20 percent of the total student population taking AP exams and at least 50 percent of all AP exams earning scores of 3 or higher

AP Expansion Schools

AP schools with 25 percent growth in AP student participation from May 2019 to May 2020 and a minimum of 2t5 students testing in May 2019

AP Humanities Schools

Schools with a minimum of five students testing in each of the following AP categories: one ELA course, two history/social science courses, one fine arts course, and one world language course

AP Humanities Achievement Schools

AP Humanities schools (see above definition) with at least 50 percent of all AP Humanities exams earning scores of three or higher

AP STEM Schools

Schools with a minimum of five students testing in at least four AP STEM courses (AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2, AP Physics C, AP Computer Science A, AP Computer Science Principles)

AP STEM Achievement Schools

AP STEM schools (see above definition) with at least 50 percent of all AP STEM exams earning scores of 3 or higher

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