Louisiana Students Achieve Top Advanced Placement Gains in State History

BATON ROUGE - Press Release --The Louisiana Department of Education announced today the number of college credits earned in 2014 by Louisiana students on Advanced Placement (AP®) exams increased by more than 1,250 credits over results in 2013 - the greatest increase in number of credits earned in state history. The gains represent an annual increase of 24.6 percent. Louisiana high school students scored high enough to earn college credit on 6,410 AP® exams in 2014, compared to 5,144 in 2013 and 4,112 in 2012. Credits earned by students who score a 3, 4, or 5 on the AP® exams are transferable to nearly any college in the nation and all colleges in Louisiana.

Overall participation in Advanced Placement courses also grew from 23,485 course enrollments in 2013 to 28,009 course enrollments in 2014. The percentage of students enrolled in the courses and taking the associated test has increased from 55 percent in 2012 to 76 percent in 2014.

In 2013, the College Board and the U.S. Department of Education hailed Louisiana's increase in qualifying scores of 3, 4, or 5, which saw the biggest gain of any state since 2011, increasing 35.1 percent over two years. Gains announced today will likely sustain the state's top position.

"These increases in Advanced Placement scores offer opportunities to students and teachers alike," said State Superintendent John White. "Studies show that even for students who pass the course but not the test, the benefits are lasting. Challenging coursework in high school is critical to college success."

"The College Board believes that all students who are academically prepared for AP® have the right to fulfill that potential," said Trevor Packer, Senior Vice President AP® and Instruction, College Board. "We applaud the efforts of the Louisiana Department of Education for ensuring that AP® courses are available and accessible, and for providing students with the supports they need to succeed. Results from the 2014 AP® Administration show these efforts are paying off: the number of students taking and succeeding on AP® exams this year increased by 43 percent and 25 percent respectively."

Expanding access to AP® courses, even among students who do not score 3 or higher, has been shown by studies to increase the likelihood of college completion. Studies show students who complete AP® coursework are:

Better prepared for college-level work;

More likely to continue their education beyond their freshman year in college;

More likely to graduate within four to five years;

Stand-outs in the college admissions process; and,

More competitive in qualifying for scholarships.

Louisiana has implemented a multi-faceted, comprehensive strategy to support Advanced Placement teachers and students by:

Linking AP® results to school accountability by recognizing a passing AP® score (3 to 5) as the highest level of achievement earned by a cohort graduate, earning the maximum 150 points in the graduation index.

Paying for test fees for all students taking AP® exams who meet the criteria for low-income students and for students taking exams new to their school, because every child should have the opportunity to succeed.

Providing increased access to AP® courses through the MFP-funded Supplemental Course Academy.

Providing funding for teachers and administrators taking part in summer AP® training, with more than 500 educators across the state participating this year.

Creating incentives for students to take more rigorous AP® courses by giving courses approved by the state additional weight in the calculation of the GPA qualifying students for TOPS college scholarships.

In 2014-2015, the Louisiana Department of Education plans to enhance these strategies, disseminating letters to the parents or guardians of students demonstrating a high likelihood of AP® success based on results from the 2013 ACT PLAN® Assessment taken during sophomore year.

To support parents, students, and professional school counselors, the Louisiana Department of Education has also established a Statewide Counselor Assistance Center. The Counselor Assistance Center will help professional school counselors make sure students enroll in course offerings that are academically-appropriate, logistically-doable and keep students on track for on-time graduation.

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