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Getting Ahead: Advanced Placement Tests

Feb. 28, 2017
More than one-fifth of the high school class of 2016 passed at least one AP exam during their high school years.

About 1.1 million students in the class of 2016 took at least one advanced placement test through the College Board's Advanced Placement Program.

Data from the College Board says the figure represents a 70 percent increase in participating public school students over the last decade; in the class of 2006, only 645,000 students took at least one AP test.

Schools across the nation offer students advanced placement courses in a variety of curricular areas, and students who pass an AP exam at the conclusion of the course may receive college credits, forgo introductory courses at the college they attend, or both.

The percentage of students who achieve a passing grade (3 or higher on a scale of 5) also has climbed steadily over the last 10 years. According to the College Board, 21.5 percent of 2016 public high school graduates achieved a passing grade (on at least one advanced placement exam during their high school years. In 2006, the passing rate was 14.6 percent.

Here are the 10 states with the highest percentage of students in the class of 2016 who passed an AP test.

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