Most States Increase the Number of Advanced Placement Exams

The College Board recently released data for the 2009 Advanced Placement exams.  All the states in the US, except 3,  had an increase in the number of AP exams from 2008 to 2009.

% Change in the Number of AP Exams by state from 2008 to 2009

 As shown in the chart above, the states with the highest increase in the percent of exams administered were: Alabama (25%), Indiana (16%), Kentucky (15%) and Nevada (15%).  The three with declines were the District of Columbia (-9%), North Dakota (-8%) and Mississippi (-1%)

The states that gave the most exams were California (479,180), Texas (287,756) and Florida (260,162). Obviously states with larger populations gave more exams.

The % change in exams from 2008 to 2009 is very interesting, but can be difficult to compare from state to state.  States have different ways they handle the  fees for the exams.  In some states the exam fees (approximately  $86.00) are covered for students by either the state, district, school or a grant. 

  • Florida covers the entire exam fee
  • Texas covers $30.00 of the fee
  • Minnesota covers more than half 
  • Georgia pays for the first exam and students pay for the others

For more details about the varying way states handle fees visit this College Board web page.  

Programs like this definitely encourage more students to attempt the AP exams compared to other states where the students and their families pay the entire exam fee.  This does not mean that students average higher scores, and in fact, many would argue that the average exam grade will be lower.  When students are required to pay for the exam they will most likely not take it unless they feel they can perform well.  When someone else pays, this may not be a concern.  On the flip-side, others would argue that there is great merit in students attempt the AP exams.

It will be interesting to see how these programs that pay the exam fee or part of the exam fee will fair as the economy continues to struggle.  I can’t imagine that all the states will continue to pay for the exam fees at the level they have in the past.  I imagine the number of exams may decrease as dome these exam fee subsidies change.  At a minimum, I would think the rate of growth in the exams would slow for states that decrease these subsidies they have made in the past.

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