For Immediate Release                                                                                                               
August 26, 2008

Record number of Illinois students take AP tests; minority test takers increase in all groups

Participation by Puerto Rican, Mexican American and other Hispanic students sees double digit increase

Springfield — The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced today that a record number of Illinois high school students took Advanced Placement (AP) tests in 2007-2008. More than 60,000 public and non-public juniors and seniors took AP exams – an increase of 8.1 percent over 2007 - according to a report released by the College Board.  In addition, participation in AP classes among all minority groups rose significantly.

“Illinois students are demanding more of themselves as shown with 5,000 additional students taking advanced courses last school year,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “The increase in minority students in all ethnic groups taking such exams is very encouraging. This speaks highly of the job our teachers are doing to motivate all students and prepare them for postsecondary education and careers.”

In addition to the record number of students taking AP exams, there was a 5.6 percent increase in the number of tests scoring high enough to receive college credit. A student may take more than one test and the number of tests taken increased by more than 8,000 in 2008 to 106,000. AP classes and tests are taken by high school students, often for dual credit with higher education institutions. English Literature & Composition, History of the United States and Mathematics Calculus AB were the most popular AP tests.

Breakdown of 2007-2008 Minority Student Participation in AP Exams:

Ethnic Groups
Number of 2008 test takers
Percentage of Increases from 2007
American Indian  
Hispanic overall
Mexican American 
Puerto Rican  
Other Hispanic 

The AP results were released by the College Board, along with the annual SAT results which once again showed Illinois students outperformed their counterparts across the nation. Illinois’ composite math score of 601 was 86 points higher than the national average. In the reading section, Illinois students averaged 583, or 81 points higher than the national average.

Since 1998, Illinois’ reading scores have increased 19 points – from 564 to 583. The state’s mathematics scores have also jumped 20 points from 581 in 1998.

The SAT is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors. While it is not taken by as many high school students as the ACT, it is another measure that shows how well Illinois students are preparing for postsecondary education. Each SAT test is scored on an 800-point scale.