What We Learned From the 2018 AP Exam Results

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

AdobeStock_176331609The College Board’s Newest Data Gives New Insight into Who’s Taking AP Exams

The results are in and it’s clear that AP testing in the US is on the rise! The College Board’s recently released data on 2018 AP Exams indicates that more students are taking AP exams and achieving successful scores.

For students who are currently studying for AP exams or considering sitting for a test in the future, reviewing this data is an excellent opportunity to discover more about AP testing and how the exams are evolving. Keep reading to learn more about the takeaways from The College Board’s data and to get a glimpse at what the 2019 and 2020 AP testing seasons may have in store for students.

AP Data Overview
According to College Board, a 10-year analysis of AP Exam testing indicates that there has been a 65% increase in students sitting for these exams. Honing in specifically on the class of 2018, roughly 38.9% of the students took at least one AP Exam and 1.24 million U.S. high school graduates completed a total of 4.33 million AP Examinations.

Of these 4.33 million AP Exams, 30.8% of test takers used fee reductions, indicating an increase in low-income students taking exams. Not only have AP exams become more accessible, but the score quality has also increased. 23.5% of students in 2018 scored a 3 or above on their AP test, versus just 15.3% of test takers in 2008.

AP Demographics
While there has been an increase in minority students participating in AP Exams, there is still a long way to go when it comes to increasing AP test taking rates in underrepresented students.

To address this, the College Board has launched a new initiative called Expanding AP Access, which will create additional resources for students. Additionally, the registration date requirement was moved to November 15, 2019 for the May 2020 exams. This transition from the former spring enrollment schedule will give more students the opportunity to consider and sign up for exams that interest them.

AP Capstone Expansion
Since its launch in 2016, the AP Capstone has become incredibly popular: the number of students participating nearly tripled since the exam’s debut. The capstone program was developed to mirror college-level work by taking an interdisciplinary approach and requiring skills such as critical thinking, research, collaboration, and time management. In 2018, the availability of the course increased by 63% from the prior year, allowing more students to participate across the country. This project seems to be favored by female students, given that 61% of capstone test takers identified as such.

AP Computer Science Growth
Computer Science is another AP Exam with a major upward trend. Foundational computer science encourages all students to explore how technology impacts daily life, no prior coding experience required. Overall enrollment increased by 135% from 2016 and underrepresented groups, including Black/African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, rural students, and female students all saw significant gains in test taking rates.

Based on the data, it’s evident that the College Board is working to increase AP test taking access and develop innovative initiatives and courses. If you’re looking to up your own AP involvement, our team of expert tutors can help you prepare for each exam effectively.

Related Topics

AP Exams, College Prep

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