AP and SAT Exam Results Show Narrowing of Achievement Gap

The recent release of last year’s SAT and AP scores by the College Board showed mixed results overall; however there were promising gains for Connecticut students who are traditionally underrepresented.

According to a release issued by the State Department of Education yesterday, this year brought a dramatic increase in black and Hispanic students participating in the AP exams and scoring a 3 or higher—which is the score most colleges require in order to receive credit.

“While we still have a long way to go to ensure that all students are achieving at high levels,” said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. “These results demonstrate that we are making significant progress in reducing the achievement gap for a significant percentage of our minority students.”

About 17 percent more black students participated in AP exams last year. Of those who students who participated, 21 percent more scored a 3 or higher. Hispanic students also saw gains on the AP exams with 13 percent more taking AP exams, and 17 percent receiving a score of 3 or higher.

Part of this upsurge in the participation is due to the Governor’s efforts to increase access and opportunity to minority and low-income students. This year the state Department of Education paid the remainder of fees not covered by the College Board or the US Department of Education.

Clearly there’s much more work to be done to ensure that all students have access to the same opportunities. That said, these are significant gains that Connecticut should be proud of.

Think about it this way, statistics show students who take AP classes and score higher than a 3 are more likely to do better in college and graduate on time. That means, more black and Hispanic students in last year’s senior class are that much more likely to be better prepare for college.

The AP exams weren’t the only bright spot either. More minority and low-income students took the SAT exams, which is an important step towards college admission for many students.

Black and Hispanic student participation in the SATs increase by 3.6 percent and 6.8 percent respectively. In Bridgeport alone, about 200 more students opted to take the SAT.

While overall state performance on the SAT was stagnant, black students did significantly better in all three sections of the exam, on average scoring 6-10 percent higher than last year.



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