Celebrating the Class of 2021
Between 2011 and 2021, the percentage of U.S. public high school graduates who took an AP Exam during high school has increased, as has the percentage of U.S. public high school graduates who scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam.
- 1,178,256 students in the class of 2021 (34.9% of U.S. public high school graduates) took at least one AP Exam, up from 28.6% of the class of 2011.
- 758,842 students in the class of 2021 (22.5% of U.S. public high school graduates) scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam, up from 17.2% of the class of 2011.
- Nearly 1.2 million students in the class of 2021 took more than 4 million AP Exams in public high schools nationwide, as educators across the country continue to enable a wider and more diverse population of students to participate in AP.
- 34.9% of 2021 U.S. public high school graduates took at least one AP Exam during high school, and 22.5% of the graduating class scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam.
- Between 2011 and 2021, the percentage of all U.S. public high school graduates earning a score of 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam has grown by 5.3 percentage points.
- 404,330 traditionally underrepresented students—including Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native students—graduated in 2021 from U.S. public high schools having taken at least one AP Exam, up 168,469 students from 2011.
A state’s success with AP is measured in the overall context of equity and access.
States are ranked by the percentage of the public school students in the state’s graduating class scoring a 3 or higher on an AP Exam during high school.
This percentage shows the proportion of the graduating class—beyond just students in AP classes—that demonstrated college-level mastery through AP during high school. Each graduate who scores a 3 or higher “counts” only once toward the percentage, regardless of how many AP Exams they take or how many scores of 3 or higher they receive. As a result, this measure fosters inclusivity and reveals the extent to which the graduating class is receiving preparation for and access to AP.
Educators and policymakers can use this measure to gauge the overall success of their graduates with AP. Schools receive similar information in their score reports, which they use to compare their own AP success to what’s happening in their state and nationwide.