Escambia and Santa Rosa counties lag behind in AP exams

February 8, 2012

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

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  • Escambia Schoolwatcher February 11, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Katie McFarland had a piece in the PNJ Feb 10 in which School supt. Malcolm Thomas warns the public that”the number of “F” schools could increase 500%.” Instead of looking critically and introspectively at Escambia schools however he tries to lay the blame on the measurement system.

    “It wuzn’t me your honor…it was them damn state tests that caused our chirren to fail!”


  • Charles Wood February 8, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Rick, my guess is the dual enrollment courses with PSC eat into this in a big way…think about it. If you’re a HS student would you rather take an AP course at Washington High or leave campus and go to PSC.

  • Escambia Schoolwatcher February 8, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    What measure DOESN’T Escambia lag behind on?

  • Julia Pearsall February 8, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Escambia County also has an IB program, so there are additional students enrolled college level programs. I don’t know the number of students in IB or how well they do on the IB testing, but it provides a more coordinated approach to learning than just taking single subject AP classes.

  • eric February 8, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    My daughters took AP courses in Santa Rosa county. Often they would earn an A in the course, yet not always score high enough to obtain college credit (4 out of 5 ) for many colleges, needed. Therefore the teachers weren’t preparing them for the AP test. Maybe UWF will start providing better teachers since that’s where a large percentage come from.
    Further, AP courses work more against the students than for in the class ranking system.
    Dual enrollment is a better option for many students. I suppose high schools don’t like it because it hurts funding.