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Number of Minorities Taking A.P. Exams Continues To Go Up

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Minority-student participation in the Advanced Placement program continues to grow at record rates, new figures from the College Board show.

Slightly more than 25 percent of all high school students who took A.P. tests last May were members of minority groups--an increase of 7 percentage points since 1988, the College Board, which administers the program, reported.

Approximately 414,000 students in 10,086 U.S. high schools--or 48 percent of the nation's total--took about 624,000 college-level A.P. examinations in May; of the total, nearly 106,000 test-takers were members of minority groups.

From 1992 to 1993, the College Board also reported, the number of minority students participating in the A.P. program grew: 15 percent for African-Americans; 14 percent for Hispanics; 11 percent for Native Americans; and 9 percent for Asian-Americans.

On a grading scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest, nearly 400,000 exams, or 64 percent of the total, earned grades of 3 or higher--grades generally accepted for credit or placement by colleges and universities throughout the nation.

Members of minority groups earned a grade of 3 or higher on more than 100,000 A.P. exams in May, or about a quarter of the total tests receiving grades of 3, 4, or 5.

Donald M. Stewart, the president of the College Board, characterized the program as "a beacon for many students, guiding them toward academic accomplishment through access to advanced instruction and sustained effort.''

Still, he said, too few students are adequately prepared to take advantage of the A.P. "We must convince all students that taking challenging academic courses and studying hard will help them reach their goals in life,'' he added.

Twenty-nine A.P. tests are given in 16 subjects, and more than 1,200 colleges and universities offer credit or placement on the basis of A.P. exam results.

A.P. Scholars

In the meantime, the College Board also announced that seven of the nine students named "National A.P. Scholars'' hail from Southern California, including two who attended North Hollywood High School and three who graduated from Polytechnic School in Pasadena.

"We always have a heavy representation from Southern California, but this is unusually large,'' said Wade Curry, the College Board's director of Advanced Placement.

About 20 percent of all A.P. test- takers are from California, he said. "There is a real emphasis being placed on A.P. in California,'' he added.

A.P. Scholars are selected for having achieved the highest grades on the largest number of A.P. exams.

Six of the nine winners--who took a total of 109 A.P. exams and scored an average of 4.6 on the tests--were members of minority groups: four Asian-Americans, one African-American, and one Hispanic.

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