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The 2017 AP Program Results show that, with the class of 2017, more U.S. students than ever before took an AP Exam in high school and more earned a qualifying score of 3 or higher on an AP Exam. Research consistently shows that when compared to their matched peers, students who score a 3 or higher on an AP Exam typically:

  • Earn higher GPAs in college
  • Perform as well as or better in subsequent college courses in the exam discipline than non-AP students who took the corresponding introductory college course.
  • Take more college coursework in the discipline
  • Are more likely to graduate college in 4 years
  • Have higher graduation rates

This report:

  • Breaks down the increases in AP participation and performance
  • Lists states by their AP participation and success on AP Exams as a single measure
  • Highlights the benefits students get from AP
  • Examines how AP Computer Science Principles is engaging more students, including underrepresented students, in computer science
  • Discusses the importance of states and districts using federal ESSA funding to subsidize AP Exam fees for low-income students

More students in the class of 2017 took AP and earned a score of 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam than any other cohort.

The data reinforce the 2016 findings of Nat Malkus, an independent researcher from the American Enterprise Institute who, in 2016, called Advanced Placement®the single happiest education story of the century.” According to Malkus, although AP participation increased by 35% between 2000 and 2009, there was no watering down of AP achievement.  

This rise in AP participation and performance wouldn’t have been possible without more students having the opportunity to take AP courses and exams. States and districts are adding AP courses to their high school offerings and providing funds for low-income students to take AP Exams. Educators are encouraging students with the potential to succeed to take advantage of the benefits of AP. To help educators and increase access to AP, the College Board designed the AP Potential tool to show students which AP courses they might do well in given their performance on the SAT Suite of Assessments.

A record number of high schools now offer AP courses. In 2006-07, 16,464 schools participated in AP; today the number is 22,169.

New Supports in AP

  • Beginning fall 2018: The new Pre-AP Program for 9th graders will help build, strengthen, and reinforce the content knowledge and skills students need to succeed in AP and other college-level coursework. Pre-AP courses will have consistent, high standards and be open to all.
  • Beginning fall 2019: AP students and teachers will have access to new resources, including an AP question bank, unit guides and tests, and performance dashboards to provide useful feedback and improve the AP classroom experience.