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State AP Scores Rise Along With Participation Rate

OLYMPIA — February 20, 2013 — More Washington students are taking and passing Advanced Placement exams, according to a national report released today.

The College Board’s ninth annual “AP Report to the Nation” shows that 20,581 Washington students (or 32.8 percent) in the class of 2012 took at least one AP exam. That number represents an increase of 1,276 (6.6 percent) from 2011 and 12,068 (62.5 percent) from 2002.

Not only did participation increase again this year, so did scores. In 2012, 20.0 percent of Washington’s 12th graders scored a three or greater – a score that generally qualifies for college credit – on an AP test. In 2011, 18.4 percent of students scored a three or greater; in 2002, 9.6 percent.

The 10.4 percentage-point increase in the past 10 years ranks Washington eighth among all states. The national average for the same period was 7.9 percent.

“We’re seeing great results all over the state,” said Randy Dorn, state superintendent. “More students are taking AP tests, and more are passing them. And that’s helping them be prepared for college and career.”

Compared to 2011 results, the number of test takers and college-ready scores increased for all subgroups:

  • American Indian/Alaska native (participation +5.3 percent, college-ready scores +26.0 percent)
  • Asian/Asian American/Pacific Islander (participation +7.1 percent, college-ready scores +9.5 percent)
  • Black/African American (participation +8.5 percent, college-ready scores +6.9 percent)
  • Hispanic/Latino (participation +8.3 percent, college-ready scores +14.5 percent)
  • White (participation +6.2 percent, college-ready scores +7.0 percent)

“Our students are up for the challenge,” said Barb Dittrich, supervisor for the AP program at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. “AP courses and exams are rigorous. Our teachers are doing a great job of helping students succeed at this high level.”

AP exams, which are offered in 34 subjects, are given each May and are scored on a scale from one to five. The most popular AP exams for Washington’s class of 2012 were (in order): English language, U.S. history, English literature, calculus AB, U.S. government and politics, world history, biology, statistics, chemistry and psychology.

Washington ranked 15th in the nation with the greatest number of 12th graders (20.0 percent) scoring three or greater on AP exams – Maryland was first at 29.6 percent. The national average was 19.5 percent.

For more information and to view the “AP Report to the Nation,” including state-by-state results, please visit


About OSPI
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.

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Nathan Olson
OSPI Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015

The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

Communications Manager
Nathan Olson
(360) 725-6015


   Updated 4/23/2013

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