350,000 Took A.P. Exams This Year, Board Reports

By Mark Pitsch — November 13, 1991 1 min read

More than 350,000 high-school students took Advanced Placement examinations this year, an increase of more than 115,000 over the total 10 years ago, with large increases coming among minority students, the College Board announced last week.

Two-thirds of the 351,144 students who took the A.P. tests last May qualified for college credit or placement, the Board said. Moreover, 26 percent of the exam takers were minorities, double the percentage in 1981.

“A.P. is an example of something positive and exciting happening in American education,” said Donald M. Stewart, president of the College Board, which administers the tests.

“It demonstrates that, given the opportunity and encouragement, our nation’s students can perform at the highest levels of academic achievement.”

The A.P. exams are given in 29 subjects, and more than 1,200 colleges and universities offer credit for qualifying students.

According to College Board data, students from 9,786 high schools took a total of 523,236 examinations in 1991. In 1981, students at 5,253 schools took 178,299 exams.

Among minority students, Hispanics registered the greatest increase. In 1991, 23,268 Hispanic students took A.v. exams, compared with 2,836 in 1981, a 720 percent increase.

The number of Asians taking the exams increased 538 percent during that period, from 6,451 to 41,159; the number of blacks climbed 395 percent, from 2,860 to 14,161; the number of American Indians rose 309 percent, from 323 to 1,323; and the number of whites increased 169 percent, from 91,319 to 245,988.

Hispanics also led other racial and ethnic groups in percentage growth from 1990 to 1991, with an increase of 17 percent.

The number of American Indian test-takers increased by 13 percent over 1990, Asians increased by 12 percent, blacks increased by 10 percent, and whites increased by 7 percent.

The Board also noted that students in the District of Columbia, Utah, Virginia, New York State, and Florida take more exams per 1,000 students than students in other states. The District’s rate of participation among students attending private schools was more than triple the national rate for private schools.

More examinations were taken by minority students in California, New York, Florida, Illinois, and Texas, the Board said.

A version of this article appeared in the November 13, 1991 edition of Education Week as 350,000 Took A.P. Exams This Year, Board Reports