AP Exam Participation Increases, 40% of All Passing Exams Are from Eleanor Roosevelt HS

by Genevieve Demos Kelley

Over a six year period, Prince George’s County has made small but significant gains in performance on Advanced Placement exams. The percentage of AP exams receiving a score of 3, 4, or 5 in 2014 is virtually identical to what it was in 2008 and slightly higher than it was in 2013: 27.5% in 2008, 26.3% in 2013, 27% in 2014. However, over the same time period, the percentage of 9th-12th grade students taking an AP exam has steadily increased from 11.4% in 2008 to 16.8% in 2014. This represents a 47% increase in the participation rate and a 25% increase in the raw number of students taking AP exams. This is certainly good news for the county: a comparable passing rate with a much larger percentage of participating students.

The percentage of exams receiving a score of 3, 4, or 5 (usually considered to be passing scores) is still much lower than national and state averages. By a large margin, the passing rate for AP Foreign Language exams (73.7% in 2014) exceeded that of all other subject categories.

Of the 23 high schools in the county sytem, only Eleanor Roosevelt High School’s AP exam passing rate (63.3%) equaled or exceeded the Maryland state average (61%). Eleanor Roosevelt HS accounts for 40% of all exams in PGCPS receiving a grade of 3, 4, or 5.

The raw number of exams receiving a passing scores increased over the six year period in all AP subject description categories, except mathematics, where both passing rate and raw number of passing exams declined.

2008 2014
AP Subject Description Exams with Scores 3-5/ Exams Taken
(%Exams w/ Scores 3-5)
Exams with Scores 3-5/ Exams Taken
(%Exams w/ Scores 3-5)
All Subjects 2150/7829 (27.5%) 2606/9660 (27%)
All Fine Arts 55/120 (45.8%) 130/267 (48.7%)
All English Language Arts 593/2313 (25.6%) 623/2737 (22.8%)
All Foreign Language 191/301 (63.5%) 227/308  (73.7%)
All Mathematics 180/753 (23.9%) 161/841  (19.1%)
All Science 682/2341 (29.1%) 775/2791 (27.8%)
All Social Studies 449/2001 (22.4%) 690/2716 (25.4%)

Source: Maryland Report Card

7 thoughts on “AP Exam Participation Increases, 40% of All Passing Exams Are from Eleanor Roosevelt HS

  1. yellowsmiley15 says:

    It’s great that more kids are taking the exams. As a math teacher, the mathematics passing scores are really depressing. I wonder what foreign language does so well that maybe the other subject areas could adapt and implement?

    Liked by 1 person

    • demosgen says:

      Yellowsmiley, the mathematics passing rate is particularly low. I taught AP Calculus for 9 years, so I can relate to your dismay. I too am curious about why the foreign language success rate is so comparitively good. It might be that many of the successful AP foreign language students are native speakers. We also have the very well-regarded French immersion program in the county, so perhaps some of those students go on to take AP French. It would be interesting to look at the details.


    • C. A. Rytting says:

      In addition to the the French immersion program that DEMOSGEN notes (and the Spanish immersion and dual-language programs mentioned here: http://www1.pgcps.org/worldlanguages/index.aspx?id=198390), it may also be that the children of some immigrants in the county who learn French or Spanish in the home as a heritage language are capitalizing on this heritage. The website msa.maryland.gov offers a “Heritage Language Task Force Report” from 1 Jan 2009 (by Catherine Ingold of the UMD National Foreign Language Center) on how to preserve and encourage these heritage languages our county is blessed with.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. yellowsmiley15 says:

    I was interested to see the national data so I did some searching online. CollegeBoard puts out great reports. This link (http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/ap/rtn/10th-annual/10th-annual-ap-report-to-the-nation-two-page-spread.pdf) shows the data for the whole nation. It’s interesting to note that Maryland leads the nation in passing scores (see pg. 11). The national breakdown by subject can be found on pg. 15. The report also looks into racial and socio-economic data, as well.

    There is also a report for just Maryland schools (http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/ap/rtn/10th-annual/10th-annual-ap-report-state-supplement-maryland.pdf). The math scores aren’t nearly as depressing there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • demosgen says:

      Thank you for that information, yellowsmiley. It would be interesting to explore the factors that make Maryland’s AP exam programs, on average, so successful.


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