More South Dakota students are taking Advanced Placement exams and are performing better on those exams, according to a report recently released by the College Board.
Participation in Advanced Placement exams has risen steadily in South Dakota since 2006-2007, when 1,948 students took at least one AP exam. Last year, 2,481 students took at least one AP exam, an increase of more than 27 percent in five years' time. Those 2,481 students took a total of 4,207 AP exams.
"What's even more impressive is that the number of exams on which students scored a 3 or better increased by 15 percent over the previous year," said Sarah Carter, who oversees Advanced Placement for the state.
Students who receive a score of 3 or better on an AP exam can receive college credit.
The pass percentage for all students in South Dakota was 67.9 percent in 2011, 10 percentage points higher than the national average of 57.9 percent.
"Increasing the rigor of the high school experience and making sure that our students are properly prepared for education beyond high school are extremely important," said South Dakota Secretary of Education Melody Schopp. "AP is one concrete way we can ramp up the rigor for our students. So, we're excited to see these results."
Schopp credits the increase in the number of AP exam test takers, in part, to the South Dakota Virtual School. Since its introduction during school year 2007-2008, the South Dakota Virtual School has expanded to include a more robust menu of Advanced Placement courses, including a number of AP courses offered to students and districts for free. That allows students in remote areas of the state to access AP resources not available before to them.