Va. students again among top AP achievers

Published 12:03 pm Friday, February 23, 2018

by Charles Pyle 

Virginia has the nation’s sixth-highest percentage of public high school seniors qualifying for college credit on Advanced Placement examinations, according to data released today by the College Board, the nonprofit organization that manages the AP program.

According to the College Board, 28.5 percent of the commonwealth’s 2017 graduating seniors earned a score of three or higher on at least one AP examination. Nationwide, 22.8 percent of 2017’s graduating seniors achieved a score of three or higher on at least one AP test.

“The consistently strong performance of Virginia students on AP exams reflects the overall strength of the commonwealth’s public schools, the rigor of the Standards of Learning, and the commitment of our teachers to challenging students to meet high expectations,” Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction Steve Constantino said.

During the last 10 years, the percentage of Virginia public school graduates scoring three or higher on at least one AP test has risen by nearly seven points. Although colleges and universities set their own policies for awarding credit, a score of three or higher on an AP test is generally seen as indicative of college-level work.

Two Virginia school divisions — Loudoun County and Radford — earned spots on the College Board’s AP honor roll by increasing the percentage of students earning scores of three or higher while also expanding access to AP courses for minority students.

The 10 most popular AP courses among Virginia’s 2017 graduating seniors were — in descending order — English Language and Composition, U.S. Government and Politics, U.S. History, Psychology, English Literature and Composition, World History, Calculus AB, Statistics, Biology and Environmental Science.

CHARLES PYLE is the director of communications for the Virginia Department of Education. He can be reached at 804-371-2420.