For Immediate Release
August 28, 2007

Record number of Illinois students take AP tests; minority participation increases across the board

Participation by Black, Puerto Rican students up by more than 30 percent

SPRINGFIELD – A record number of Illinois high school students took Advanced Placement (AP) tests in 2006-2007, according to a report released today by the College Board. More than 55,000 public and non-public juniors and seniors took AP tests – a 9.9 percent increase over 2006. In addition, the state also saw a significant increase in all minority groups taking AP classes.

"I'm excited to see that more high school students are challenging themselves by taking advanced courses. It's a positive step in the right direction to see such an increase in minority participation," said State Superintendent of Education Christopher Koch. "These are rigorous courses that will prepare our students for postsecondary work."

In addition to the record number of students taking the AP tests, there was a 7.9 percent increase in the number of tests being scored high enough to receive college credit. An individual student may take more than one test and the number of tests taken increased by more than 10,000 in 2007 to 98,000. AP classes and tests are taken by high school students, often for dual credit with higher education institutions.

Overall, African-American and Puerto Rican participation in AP tests was up more than 30 percent. The number of students taking AP tests identifying themselves as black increased by 32.6% to 7,479 and the number of students identifying themselves as Puerto Rican increased by 34.3% to 857. English Literature & Composition, History of the United States and Mathematics Calculus AB were the most popular AP tests.

The AP results were released by the College Board, along with the annual SAT results which once again increased statewide as Illinois students outperformed their counterparts across the nation. Illinois' composite math score of 611 was 96 points higher than the national average and two points higher than last year. In the reading section, Illinois students averaged at 594, or 92 points higher than the national average and five points higher than last year.

Since 1997, Illinois' reading scores have increased 32 points – from 562 to a high of 594. The state's mathematics scores have also jumped 33 points from 578 in 1997.

While the SAT is not taken by as many high school students as the ACT it is another measure that shows how well Illinois students are being prepared for postsecondary education.

The SAT Reasoning Test is a measure of the critical thinking skills that students need for academic success in postsecondary education. It assesses how well students analyze and solve problems. The test is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors. Each SAT test is scored on an 800-point scale.