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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

More FCPS Students Take AP, IB Exams as a Result of Expanding Advanced Academic Coursework

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) students continue to take Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exams in higher numbers in 2012, 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 increased for AP and dipped slightly for IB. 

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. Differentiated and rigorous advanced academic instruction has resulted in AP and IB student performance that has remained relatively stable or increased while AP and IB enrollment continue to rise.”

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 16,356 students took a total of 35,759 AP exams, a 5.2 percent increase up from 16,162 students taking 33,983 exams in 2011 (see tables 1 and 2). Also, 2,898 students took a total of 7,525 IB exams, a 13.8 percent increase up from 2,666 students taking 6,609 IB exams in 2011 (see tables 3 and 4). The IB diploma program is offered in 8 of the 25 FCPS high schools (Annandale, Edison, Lee, Marshall, Mount Vernon, South Lakes, and Stuart High Schools and Robinson Secondary School). Many FCPS students take multiple AP or IB exams.

The percentage of AP exams with a score of 3 or higher increased overall from 69 percent in 2011 to 72 percent in 2012.  The percentage of AP exams with a score of 3 or higher also increased for all ethnic groups.  Of all AP exams taken, the percentage of students with a score of 3 or higher increased by 8.6 percent overall from 2011 to 2012, 14.6 percent for Black students, 14.1 percent for Asian students, 8.2 percent for Hispanic students, and 5.2 percent for White students (see table 5).  Enrollment in at least one AP course increased for most ethnic groups with an overall enrollment increase of 1.2 percent (see table 2).

In 2012, the percentage of IB exams with a score of 4 or higher decreased slightly overall, as well as for most ethnic groups (see table 6) while IB enrollment in one or more IB courses increased 8.7 percent overall.  Of all IB exams taken, the percentage of students with a score of 4 or higher increased by 9.8 percent overall from 2011 to 2012, 23.4 percent for Black students, 11.4 percent for Asian students, 10.1 percent for White students, and 7.6 percent for Hispanic students (see table 6).  Enrollment in one or more IB courses increased 17.8 percent for Hispanic students, 10.0 percent for Black students, 9.2 percent for White students and 0.6 percent for Asian students (see table 4).

The following subjects (see table 7 and table 8) had significant increases in student enrollment from 2011 to 2012:   AP Calculus BC (5 percent), AP Computer Science (23 percent), AP Economics (85 percent), AP Human Geography (11 percent), AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism (36 percent), AP Physics C: Mechanics (18 percent), AP Psychology (7 percent), AP U.S. History (4 percent), AP World History (8 percent), IB Biology (54 percent), IB Business and Management (23 percent), IB Chemistry (7 percent), IB English A1 (12 percent), IB Geography (21 percent), IB History of the Americas (7 percent), IB Math Studies (15 percent), IB Mathematics (12 percent), IB Physics (13 percent), IB Social and Cultural Anthropology (81 percent), and IB Visual Arts (45 percent).

The following subjects (see table 7 and table 8) had some of the highest achievement rates (3 or higher for AP and 4 or higher for IB): AP Calculus BC (89 percent), AP Chinese Language and Culture (97 percent), AP English Language and Composition (79 percent), AP French Language (81 percent), AP German Language (81 percent), AP Japanese Language and Culture (78 percent), AP Physics C (78 percent), AP Psychology (76 percent), AP Studio Art: 2-D Design (90 percent), AP Studio Art: Drawing (75 percent), AP World History (80 percent), IB Computer Science (78 percent), IB Economics (78 percent), IB English A1 (89 percent), IB Film (86 percent), IB German (81 percent), IB History of the Americas (79 percent), IB Japanese B (100 percent), IB Mathematics Studies (81 percent), IB Music (75 percent), IB Music: Group Performance (77 percent), IB Social and Cultural Anthropology (76 percent), IB Spanish A2 (92 percent), IB Spanish AB (90 percent), IB Spanish B (85 percent), IB Visual Arts (80 percent), and IB World Religions (88 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 2012, 2,232 FCPS students were recognized as AP Scholars, 1,283 were recognized as AP Scholars with Honor, 2,222 were recognized as AP Scholars with Distinction, and 502 students were recognized as National AP Scholars.  The total number of students recognized as AP Scholars rose from 5,015 in 2010 to 5,176 students in 2011, to 5,737 in 2012 (see table 9).

For the class of 2012, 73.7 percent of the students pursuing the IB diploma successfully completed the requirements, with 358 students being awarded the IB diploma.  At two IB schools, 80 percent or more of IB candidates were awarded the IB diploma: 90.3 percent of the IB candidates were awarded the IB diploma at Marshall High School and 80.0 percent of IB diploma candidates earned the IB diploma at Robinson Secondary School. At Edison High School, 78.8 percent of IB diploma candidates earned the IB diploma and 74.2 percent of IB diploma candidates earned the IB diploma at Annandale High School. (see table 10).

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

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