A new report says Illinois high school seniors were twice as likely as Iowa students to take, and score successfully on, Advanced Placement exams.
AP exams offer students a way to earn college credit before they graduate from high school. Students are usually required to score a three or higher on the exam to qualify for college credit.
The 10th annual report, issued Tuesday, February 11, 2014 by the College Board, says 20.1 percent of all U.S. high school seniors took an AP exam, and then got a score of three or higher in 2013.
Illinois exceeded the national average, with 21.5 percent of all high school seniors taking an AP exam and then achieving a score of three or higher in 2013. That percentage ranked Illinois 13th among all 50 states.
In Iowa, only 11.1 percent of all high school seniors took an AP exam and achieved the recommended score. That ranked Iowa at number 40, on the list of all states, in terms of the percentage of seniors who took an AP exam and achieved a three or better.
When comparing only students who took the AP exam, both states exceeded the national average for the percentage who scored a three or better. Of all Illinois students who actually took an AP exam in 2013, more than 65 percent scored a three or higher. In Iowa, 64.7 percent of all students who took an AP exam scored a three or better.
Nationally, 57.4 percent of all students who actually took an AP exam scored a three or higher in 2013.
More students took an AP exam in 2013 compared to ten years earlier. Iowa and Illinois both saw significant increases in the percentage of students taking and achieving the needed score on an AP exam. Only 13.5 percent of Illinois students scored a three or higher on any AP exam in 2003, compared to the previously-mentioned 21.5 percent in 2013. Iowa showed dramatic improvement as well, jumping from 5.9 percent of students scoring a three or better on AP exams in 2003 to 11.1 percent in 2013.