The Sunshine State made the grade for the percentage of students who took an Advanced Placement (AP) exam while in high school, earning them a second place national ranking according to the 10th Annual AP Report to the Nation.
The report found 53.1 percent of Florida graduates participated in AP courses while in high school, a number nearly 20 points higher than the national average. Florida trailed only behind the District of Columbia by 2 points.
That number has increased steadily since 2003 --- the number of graduates leaving high school having taken at least one AP exam during the past decade increased a by a whopping 146 percent.
In addition, Florida placed fifth for the percentage of 2013 graduates who received a score of 3 or higher on AP exams, with 27.3 percent of students achieving these scores.
AP classes are classes created by the College Board which offer college-level curriculum and exams for high school students. Many colleges across the country accept high AP exam scores in exchange for course hours, which can prove profitable to college students looking to graduate quicker.
During the last 10 years, the number of low-income students taking AP has increased more than tenfold across the country.
According to the report, Florida remains the only state in the nation with a large population of Hispanic graduates that has closed the equity gap in AP participation and success.
Hispanic students in Florida accounted for 27.9 percent of AP exam takers and 31 percent of AP exam takers earning a score of 3 or higher.
Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart praised Tuesdays report, saying the results were indicative of many years of good state leadership benefiting Floridas education.
Florida is a national leader in providing students access to college-level coursework while they are in high school, she said. For many years, our students have benefited from thoughtful state leadership and foresight so they can experience the rigor of a postsecondary education and earn college credit before they graduate. I am especially pleased that more Hispanic and low-income graduates than ever before are prepared for success in college, career and in life.
Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at Allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen.