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Florida Schools Get Great Ap Grades

The national College Board’s 2007Advanced Placement Report to the Nation brought good news to Florida Schools. Findings from the organization reported overall improvements for high schools students achieving high rated Advanced Placement test scores. Nationally, 14.8% of students taking Advanced Placement (AP) exams scored a 3 or higher in 2006, up 14.1% from 2005. Educators in the Florida Schools viewed this report with interest for a couple of reasons.

First of all, Florida Schools are interested in the accompanying study that reports a strong correlation between students who take AP courses in high school and experience academic success in college. Secondly, Florida Schools ranked well in most areas of the report. Florida Schools ranked 7th in the nation for states with the largest percentage of seniors scoring a 3 or better on their AP exams. 19.8% of AP students in the Florida Schools achieved this goal.

Top scorer New York State had 22.7% of its AP students in this upper echelon. Florida Schools also were in the top five states to show the most improvement in AP scores between 2000 and 2006. Finally, the College Board recognized Florida Schools as one of the top achievers in eliminating equity gaps of Latino students. This means that the percentage of Latino students represented in Florida Schools has increased in relation to their overall percentage of attendance. According to College Board President Gaston Caperton, “Florida is one state that has dramatically expanded AP participation and improved performance among Latino students. In Florida, the percentage of AP students who are Latino actually exceeds the percentage of students that are Latino in the population.” State funding is used to give Florida Schools professional teacher development. And the Florida Schools use PSAT/NSMQT scores to identify potentially successful AP students. Finally, Florida Schools awards educators for high student achievement on the AP exams.

Along with California, New York, and Texas, the Florida Schools have more schools cited in the report than any other states. Cypress Bay High School in Weston, Florida and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia received the most mentions of all high schools in the nation. Despite on-going challenges to meet the needs of a state full of diversity and challenges, Florida Schools are clearly making strides towards their goals. Florida Schools participate in the College Board’s Advanced Placement Program® which allows high students to take college level courses. Administrators in Florida Schools say that those students participating the AP courses not only do better in college, but also end up taking more credit hours in their major course of study. In addition to Sunshine State standards and the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), Florida Schools are trying to increase the number of its students attending four-year college and completing the degree in that timeframe.


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