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Friday November 28th 2014

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Escambia and Santa Rosa counties lag behind in AP exams

The Flordia Department of Education released an announcement that for the third year in a row, Florida had the highest percentage of high school graduates taking an Advanced Placement (AP) exam while in high school according to The 8th Annual AP Report to the Nation® released today by the College Board. The first-place ranking, with 47.4 percent of 2011 seniors (72,685) taking at least one AP exam during their high school career, bettered the national average of 30.2 percent. In addition, Florida placed sixth in the country in the percent of graduates earning a 3 or higher on an AP exam, with 23.9 percent of last year’s 36,678 graduates scoring 3 or better. The national average was 18.1 percent.

The press release got me to look at the AP exam performance of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, not just for graduates but for grades 10-12. Our two public school districts lag behind the state and Okaloosa County.  A larger percentage of students take the AP exams statewide (29.2%) and in Okaloosa County (42.3%) than in Escambia (16.6%) and Santa Rosa (11%).  The percentage of African-American students taking AP exams is woefully behind the state percentage —State 17.2% to Esc/S. Rosa 6.3%.

It’s hard to proclaim excellence when so few our students are pushing themselves to take AP courses and exams. The data counters the talk of the school boards and superintendents.

District Name Total Percentage of AP Test Takers Total Percentage of Students Scoring 3-5 Total Percentage of White AP Test Takers Total Percentage of White Students Scoring 3-5 Total Percentage of Black AP Test Takers Total Percentage of Black Students Scoring 3-5
State 29.2 42.3 30.7 48 17.2 19.7
ESCAMBIA 16.6 41.4 20.6 46.9 6.3 21
SANTA ROSA 11 62.9 11.7 63.6 6.3 *
OKALOOSA 42.3 47.1 43.6 48.2 20.2 29.5