For Immediate Release
February 10, 2010

Record number of Illinois students take AP exams

Homewood-Flossmoor Community High School ranks top in nation for number of African American Students succeeding on AP Exam

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education today announced a record number of Illinois students took AP exams in 2009, according to the sixth annual AP Report to the Nation. Illinois ranked in the upper half of the nation in 2009 for the number of high school seniors – 15.9 percent – who scored a 3 or higher on an AP exam. In addition, participation among all categories – by gender, ethnicity and economic class – increased in Illinois as the state moves forward with establishing more rigorous college and career-ready standards.

“The gains that Illinois students have made in terms of AP participation and success is another sign of our state’s commitment to providing a rigorous curriculum that prepares students for college and careers,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “We expect these gains to continue as we establish internationally-benchmarked learning standards later this year.’’

Illinois ranked 18th in the nation for having the greatest percent of seniors posting a 3 or higher, which studies have shown is predictive of college success and college graduation. The percentage of Illinois students reaching that benchmark has increased since 2004 when 12.6 percent of students scored a 3 or higher. Nearly a quarter of all high school seniors in the Class of 2009  last year had taken at least one AP exam during high school.

Last year, ACT presented The Illinois State Board of Education with its “Systems of Excellence Award’’ in recognition of the state’s requirement that all 11th graders take the exam, increasing the likelihood of success for all students. The State Board continues to build on that legacy through participation with 48 other states and

U.S. territories in the Common Core Standards Initiative to develop common internationally benchmarked learning standards based on the best evidence research and academic performance. The Board is expected to vote on adoption of those standards in August. 

Homewood-Flossmoor Community High School in Flossmoor, a southern suburb of Chicago, was singled out in the AP Report to the Nation for having the greatest number of African American students from the class of 2009 scoring 3 or higher on the AP Psychology exam. Across the state, increasing numbers of African American and Latino students are participating in AP. 

Other highlights of the sixth annual AP Report to the Nation: