Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Education investment pays off
STATE’S PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS STRENGHTHEN SHOWING ON AP EXAMS, HOLD STEADY ON SAT
Arkansas’ public school students once again posted gains in terms of participation and performance on Advanced Placement (AP) Exams in 2007 and maintained SAT scores that are above the national average, according to information released Tuesday by the College Board.
“Last year we were named ‘The Arkansas Model’ for other states to emulate in terms of our policies encouraging participation in Advanced Placement courses,” Dr. James said, “so it is wonderful news to hear that both participation rates and exam scores remain on the rise.”
In 2007, 16,013 public school students took AP exams, representing a 6.4 percent increase over the 15,054 students who took the exams the previous year. What’s more, there was an 8.8 percent increase in the number of exam scores of 3 or higher from last year for public school students. On AP exams, a 3 is “Qualified,” a 4 is “Well Qualified,” and a 5 is “Extremely Well Qualified.”
"It is impressive to see the increase in the number of students who score well on the AP exam," said Dr. Steve Floyd, Interim Director of the Department of Higher Education. "This means there are more high school students who are earning college credit and preparing themselves well for postsecondary education. Good preparation in high school will contribute to higher graduation rates from college."
As of the 2009-2010 school year, all high schools in the state will be required to offer an Advanced Placement course or its equivalent in each of the four core areas of English, mathematics, science and social studies. The state also began paying for students taking AP exams in May 2005. Both of these pieces of legislation have garnered national praise for Arkansas because of the increased access they gave public school students to rigorous course work.
“We know from research that anytime students take AP courses, they are greatly increasing their chances of finishing college in five years or less,” Dr. James said.
Arkansas public school students did not completely mirror the scoring trend found nationwide on the SAT Reasoning Test, which incorporates Critical Reading, Math and Writing portions:
· The state’s public school students’ mean score in Critical Reading increased by 2 points to 579, as compared to a one point drop in scores nationally to 502.
· The state’s public school students’ mean score in Math remained at 571 as compared to a three point drop in scores nationally to 515.
· The state’s public school students’ mean score in Writing fell one point to 567 as compared to a three point drop in scores nationally to 494.
The state had 1,044 students taking the SAT in 2007, a 3.6 decrease in the number of test-takers in 2006.
Of the public school students taking the SAT, 87.2 percent enrolled in colleges, according to the College Board, and two-thirds of those attended Arkansas schools. The three colleges and universities in Arkansas receiving the most SAT scores from Arkansas test-takers were the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, the University of Central Arkansas and Hendrix College.
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