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Mississippi Students Increase Advanced Placement Participation, Achievement

September 26, 2017

JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippi saw continued growth in all three major categories of Advanced Placement (AP) participation and performance, with 9,369 students taking AP exams in the 2016-17 school year. The number is a 14.2 percent increase over the previous school year.


Students took 14,076 AP exams in 2016-17, which is an increase of 13 percent over the previous year. The number of students achieving an AP score of 3 or higher increased 19.8 percent to 4,440.  Among minority students, the number scoring a 3 or higher increased 28 percent.


“The AP experience is beneficial to students because it exposes them to college-level material and helps them develop the study skills that are needed to be successful in college,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “As schools continue to provide students with challenging learning opportunities, AP achievement in Mississippi will continue to rise.”


Students who score 3 or higher on an AP exam can receive college credit from the college or university where they enroll, which reduces the cost of their college education. In addition, research shows that students achieving a 3 or higher on an AP exam perform well in subsequent college courses, take more college courses in the same discipline and are more likely to graduate from college within four years.


The number of students taking AP exams and the number of exams with a qualifying score have both nearly doubled since 2013, with exam takers increasing from 5,056 to 9,369 and the number of exams with scores of 3 or higher rising from 2,437 to 4,440.


The Mississippi Department of Education implemented an AP Initiative in 2015-16 to increase statewide participation in AP courses. The effort includes raising awareness about AP benefits, increasing access to AP opportunities and providing AP-focused professional development for teachers, principals and counselors. Participation in AP and other accelerated courses is a factor in accountability grades.

The AP Initiative also includes a focus on subgroup performance and equity in AP access. In 2016-17, AP exam participation increased 30.3 percent for African-American students and a total of 39.4 percent for all minority students.


The number of AP scholar awards has nearly doubled since 2015, jumping from 585 in the 2014-15 school year to 1,042 in 2016-17. AP scholar awards are given to students who earn qualifying scores on multiple AP exams.

The U.S. Department of Education provides Mississippi with a grant that subsidizes the cost of AP exams for students from low-income families. In 2016-17, 71.6 percent of students qualified for the subsidy, but only 31.1 percent of students took an AP exam using the fee subsidy.

“Mississippi students have proven they can master college-level coursework while in high school,” Wright said. “There is no limit to what they can achieve when they are challenged and given the right help and support.”

Media Contact: 
Patrice Guilfoyle, APR
Director of Communications

Jean Cook, APR
Communications Specialist