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More Minnesota High School Students Pursuing Advanced Placement for College




Sandy Connolly
Minnesota Office of Higher Education
(651) 259-3902

Doug Gray,
Minnesota Department of Education
(651) 582-8281

Student mastery of tests also on the rise

Nearly 19,000 Minnesota high school students took at least one Advanced Placement test in the 2004-2005 academic year, an increase of 8.4 percent over the previous year. The number of tests taken that met the minimum score typically accepted by colleges and universities for college credit also jumped 8.8 percent over the previous school year. The total number of exams taken increased 9.2 percent to 29,480.

"When we can raise the bar for more students and improve their college readiness, it's always a good thing," said Susan Heegaard, Director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. "The steady gains in student participation in Advanced Placement are just as important as the increase in the number of students who demonstrate mastery of these college-level subjects. We should aim higher if we want Minnesota students to compete globally."

Advanced Placement courses are now offered in 242 Minnesota high schools to prepare students to take the exams. The tests are offered in 19 subject areas for a fee. Students can take multiple tests and may take the tests without having participated in the coursework. The program is one of several college preparation options available in Minnesota. Tests and curriculum are both products of the College Board, a national not-for-profit organization.

AP Participation
Number of Minnesota Test Takers Number of Exams Taken Number of Grades 3-5
Change from Last Year+8.4%+9.2%+8.8%

"The increases are impressive," said Alice Seagren, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education. "The numbers demonstrate a real commitment on the part of schools to provide very rigorous course work for students. Next year we expect to see an even higher level of participation in Advanced Placement, due to Governor Pawlenty's 'Get Ready, Get Credit' initiative passed during the last legislative session. Additional funding will cover the cost of test fees for students, as well as provide additional training for more Advanced Placement teachers."

This summer, the Legislature passed a proposal by Governor Tim Pawlenty to expand access to programs like Advanced Placement to more high school students.

College acceptance policies vary on Advanced Placement. Most colleges and universities across the country consider a score of three or higher (on a five-point scale) as mastery of a specific course and will award students college credit and the opportunity to be placed in a more advanced course. The advanced standing can save students time and money in pursuing a bachelor's degree. The Minnesota Department of Education prepares a guide on the credit policies for Advanced Placement Exams.

Also released today by the College Board are state and national results on the SAT college entrance exam and the PSAT. The SAT is taken by only 11 percent of Minnesota's high school students, typically those who are considering attending college in eastern and western states where that test is used more predominantly. The PSAT is recognized as an early practice test for college entrance exams that are typically taken later in high school.

Mean scores for Minnesota's SAT-takers increased in both verbal and mathematics by five points and four points respectively, on a 200 to 800 scale, however slightly fewer Minnesota students took the SAT test. Overall PSAT participation in Minnesota was unchanged from the previous year and scores increased slightly.

The Minnesota Office of Higher Education provides a more in-depth look at the Advanced Placement results for 2004-2005 on its Web site at /mPg.cfm?pageID=1068 and SAT/PSAT /mPg.cfm?pageID=1067. For more information on College Board test results contact the College Board at

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