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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Number of FCPS Students Taking AP, IB Exams Continues to Rise

The total number of Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) students taking Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exams continued to rise in 2011, following recent trends, according to data just released by FCPS Superintendent Jack D. Dale. While the total number of students tested and the number of exams administered rose significantly, the percentage of students with a passing score remained relatively constant.   According to Dale, “The increases in AP and IB participation are the result of an emphasis on expanding access to advanced academic coursework to all students.”

Many colleges offer college credit to students who score a 3, 4, or 5 on their AP exams.  Colleges and universities accept IB scores of 4, 5, 6, or 7 as evidence of a student’s mastery of the subject matter and may award college credit to a student earning a 4 or above.

The data reveal that 16,162 students took a total of 33,983 AP exams, a 5.4 percent increase, up from 15,439 students taking 32,230 exams in 2010 (see tables 1 and 2). Also, 2,666 students took a total of 6,609 IB exams, a 2.1 percent increase, up from 2,618 students taking 6,472 IB exams in 2010 (see tables 3 and 4). The IB diploma program is offered in 8 of the 25 FCPS high schools. Many FCPS students take multiple AP or IB exams.

Of all AP exams taken, the percentage of those with a score of 3 or higher increased by two percent for Hispanic students, remained the same for Asian and Black students, and decreased one percent for White students (see table 5), while enrollment in at least one AP course increased for all ethnic groups with an overall increase of 4.7 percent. Greatest gains were made by underrepresented minority students, with Hispanic student AP enrollment increasing by 38.9 percent and Black student AP enrollment increasing by 14.5 percent (see table 2).

In 2011, the percentage of IB exams with a score of 4 or higher increased slightly overall, as well as for most ethnic groups (see table 6) while IB enrollment increased 1.8 percent overall. Enrollment in one or more IB courses increased 10.4 percent for Hispanic students, 7.0 percent for Black students, and 1.6 percent for Asian students with an insignificant decrease for White students (see table 4).

The following subjects (see tables 7 and 8) had significant increases in student enrollment from 2010 to 2011: AP Biology (19 percent), AP Calculus AB (11 percent), AP Chemistry (15 percent), AP Economics (17 percent), AP U.S. Government and Politics (8 percent), AP Human Geography (47 percent), AP Physics B (55 percent), AP Physics C (6 percent), AP Psychology (5 percent), AP Studio Art: 2-D Design (34 percent), AP Spanish Language (8 percent), AP U.S. History (12 percent), AP World History (7 percent), IB Chemistry (16 percent), IB English A1 (5 percent), IB Mathematics (31 percent), IB Psychology (30 percent) and IB Spanish B (22 percent).

The following subjects (see tables 7 and 8) had some of the highest achievement rates (3 or higher for AP and 4 or higher for IB): AP Calculus BC (86 percent), AP Chinese Language and Culture (95 percent), AP English Language and Composition (78 percent), AP Psychology (78 percent), AP Spanish Literature (78 percent), AP Studio Art: 2-D Design (88 percent), AP World History (78 percent), IB Computer Science (94 percent), IB Design Technology (81 percent), IB Economics (82 percent), IB English A1 (97 percent), IB English A2 (83 percent), IB Film (83 percent), IB German (83 percent), IB Mathematics Studies (81 percent), IB Music (87 percent), IB Social and Cultural Anthropology (88 percent), IB Spanish A2 (91 percent), IB Spanish B (91 percent), IB Theatre (85 percent), and IB World Religions (92 percent).

The College Board recognizes students who score a 3 or higher on at least three AP exams as AP Scholars.  Students with an average score of 3.25 or higher on all AP exams and scores of 3 or higher on at least four exams are recognized as AP Scholars with Honor.  Students with an average score of 3.5 or higher on all AP exams and scores of 3 or higher on at least five exams are recognized as AP Scholars with Distinction.  National AP Scholars earned an average score of 4 or higher on all exams and a score of 4 or higher on at least eight exams.  In 2011, 2,098 FCPS students were recognized as AP Scholars, 1,167 were recognized as AP Scholars with Honor, 1,910 were recognized as AP Scholars with Distinction, and 385 students were recognized as National AP Scholars.  The total number of students recognized as AP Scholars rose from 4,640 in 2009 to 5,176 in 2011 (see table 9).

For the class of 2011, 72.3 percent of the students pursuing the IB diploma successfully completed the requirements, with 298 students being awarded the IB diploma.  At two IB schools, more than 90 percent of the IB candidates were awarded the IB diploma: 92.9 percent of IB diploma candidates earned the IB diploma at Edison High School and 91.8 percent of IB diploma candidates earned the IB diploma at Robinson Secondary School. Mount Vernon High School and Stuart High School awarded the IB diploma to 75.0 percent of their IB candidates, while Marshall High School awarded the IB diploma to 72.7 percent of their IB candidates (see table 10).

Individual school results for AP and IB examinations are available on the FCPS website under school and center profiles. 

Tables 1 & 2

Tables 3 & 4

Table 5

Table 6

Table 7

Table 8

Table 9

Table 10

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Note:  For more information, contact LouEllen Brademan at 571-423-4744 or lpbrademan@fcps.edu.