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Minnesota Advanced Placement Scores and Participation Continue to Increase




Minnesota SAT scores higher than national scores

Contact: Randy Wanke (651) 582-1145
Sandy Connolly (651) 259-3902

St. PaulThe Minnesota Department of Education and the Minnesota Office of Higher Education released data today showing a nearly 17 percent increase in the number of Minnesota students taking Advanced Placement (AP) tests. The data also shows a 13 percent increase in the number of public school students scoring a "3" or higher on their exams, which is the cut score used by most colleges to award college credit to new entering students.

"Minnesota is committed to increasing opportunities to prepare every student for success after high school," Governor Tim Pawlenty said. "The increase in AP participation and scores shows that Minnesota students respond when they are challenged with more rigorous class work and the ability to earn college credit while in high school."

The data released today by the College Board shows that 22,929 Minnesota public high school students took AP tests during the 2006-07 school year, a 16.9 percent increase from the 2005-06 school year. This is the second consecutive year that Minnesota has seen a significant increase in AP participation and scores. In 2006, participation increased by 19.4 percent and the number of students scoring a "3" or higher on their exams increased by 18.5 percent.

Minnesota Public School Students Taking AP Tests
Advanced Placement# of test takers# of exams taken# of scores 3-5
Change from last year+16.9%+18.4%+13.4%

There was also an increase in participation and scores among several sub-groups of students, including a 45.6 percent increase in black students taking the test, along with a 42 percent increase in black students scoring a "3" or higher on their exams.

The number of tests taken in a number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields also increased. For example, 1,381 chemistry tests were taken this year, compared to 1,027 last year. Additionally, 928 physics tests were taken this year, compared to 756 last year.

The AP program provides high school students with the opportunity to take college-level courses in a high school setting.

"In Minnesota, we have increased rigor in order to better prepare students for the 21st century," said Education Commissioner Alice Seagren. "The increase in AP participation, along with an increase in scores, indicates that students will step up to meet our increased expectations."

The increase in the number of students taking AP tests coincides with Minnesota's continued investment in the AP and other dual enrollment programs, including $13 million in funding during the 2007 legislative session. The legislature appropriated $6 million for Pre-AP and AP programming in 2007, which was part of the Governor's high school plan. The funding will be used to expand AP and Pre-AP, particularly among subgroups of minority students and students of poverty.

Earlier this month, the Department of Education announced the availability of grant funds for school districts to establish programs to raise academic achievement for students in grades 6 through 12 through increased student participation in Pre-AP and AP programs.

An initiative proposed by Governor Tim Pawlenty and passed by the legislature provided increased funding and emphasis on AP and other courses that enable students to earn college credit while in high school. The Get Ready-Get Credit program created by Governor Pawlenty encourages students to earn college credit while in high school through AP or International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, or by passing a College Level Exam Program (CLEP) test.

"This increase in AP participation and success is a sign that more students are choosing to challenge themselves with rigorous courses and get better prepared for college," said Susan Heegaard, Director of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. "Students who take these courses are getting set for college and at the same time, saving money and time by getting college credits under their belt."

SAT scores above the national average

Minnesota students also continued to perform well on the SAT, the college entrance exam administered by the College Board. The SAT is less predominant in Minnesota than the ACT test, with nine percent of 2007 graduating seniors taking the exam.

Minnesota SAT scores increased across the board, with Minnesota public school students posting SAT mean scores of 596 in critical reading, 603 in mathematics and 574 in writing. These mean scores for the state are compared to a national critical reading mean score of 498, a national math mean score of 509, and a national writing mean score of 488.

Minnesota students achieved the highest average ACT score in the nation in 2007, with a record 70 percent of all graduating seniors taking the exam.

Complete results will be available on the College Board's Website at 9:30 a.m. CST:

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