TEA News Release

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Feb. 20, 2013


Texas AP participation and success rates continue to climb 

AUSTIN – Texas Commissioner of Education Michael L. Williams and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Chairman Fred Heldenfels IV today joined with College Board Regional Vice President Dr. Richard Middleton to announce that The 9th Annual AP® Report to the Nation finds more Texas public high school graduates than ever before are participating – and succeeding – in college-level Advanced Placement (AP) courses and exams.

Texas ranks 13th in nation in the percentage of 2012 graduates participating in AP. Over the last decade, AP participation and success in Texas has increased steadily:

  • The number of public school graduates leaving high school having taken an AP Exam
    in Texas has increased by 122 percent in the last decade.
  • More graduates in the Texas Class of 2012 scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam than took AP Exams in 2002.
  • 35.5 percent of graduates from Texas’s public high school Class of 2012 took at least
    one AP Exam during high school, compared to 25.6 percent from the Class of 2007
    and 19.2 percent from the Class of 2002.
  • 18.1 percent of graduates from Texas’s public high school Class of 2012 scored a
    3 or higher on at least one AP Exam during high school, compared to 13.6 percent
    from the class of 2007 and 11.0 percent from the Class of 2002.

"The growth and success we are witnessing in Texas on AP exams is a direct result of a more rigorous curriculum in the classroom and, in turn, our students meeting the academic challenge," said Commissioner Williams. "The momentum reflected in these results should make all Texans proud."

"Every time Texas has raised the bar on academic standards and expectations, Texas students have met the challenge," said Heldenfels. "These results demonstrate that Texas students embrace rigorous coursework and excel while doing so."

AP courses help students develop the critical thinking, reasoning and communication skills that are essential for college success. Succeeding in AP is defined as achieving a score of 3 or higher on the five-point AP Exam scale, which is the score needed for credit, advanced placement or both at the majority of colleges and universities.

Williams, Paredes and Middleton noted the tremendous growth in AP participation among underserved minority and low-income students in Texas.  Texas is one of ten states to achieve equitable participation for Hispanic/Latino public high school graduates in the Class of 2012.

"Texas has made tremendous strides in providing more Hispanic and low-income students the opportunity to participate and succeed in AP," said Dr. Middleton. "Texas school districts such as San Antonio's North East ISD, one of three recognized nationally by College Board for the growth of AP participation and increased scores, are setting an example for others to follow. It is vital that all academically prepared students who are ready for college-level AP course work be able to fulfill their potential, regardless of financial or personal background."

Research indicates that students who score a 3 or higher on an AP Exam typically experience greater overall academic success in college and are more likely than their non-AP peers to graduate from college and graduate from college on time, experiencing lower college costs than the majority of American college students.

Texas's public high school Class of 2012 completed 317,747 AP Exams during high school, including 76,403 in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines. The 10 most popular AP Exams taken by Texas's public high school graduates, in descending order of popularity, were:



English Language and Composition


United States History


English Literature and Composition


World History


United States Government and Politics


Calculus AB




Spanish Language






 Taking AP courses demonstrates to college admission officers that students have sought the most rigorous curriculum available to them, and most four-year colleges and universities in the United States grant credit, advanced placement or both on the basis of successful AP Exam scores. More than 3,300 colleges and universities in the United States received AP scores from students last year, including 175 colleges and universities in Texas.

Each year, the College Board honors three districts in the nation – one large, one medium, and one small – with the AP District of the Year Award, in recognition of their ability to expand access to AP while simultaneously increasing the percentage of students earning a 3 or higher on AP Exams.  The North East Independent School District in San Antonio is the 2012-13 recipient of the AP District of the Year award in the large district category.

The College Board also recognizes districts that increase access to AP course work while simultaneously increasing the percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher on AP Exams with its

AP Districts of the Year Honor Roll. A total of 539 school districts across the U.S. and Canada were named to the most recent honor roll, including 12 from Texas:

  • Abilene Wylie ISD
  • Allen ISD
  • Birdville ISD
  • Brazosport ISD
  • Carroll ISD
  • Eagle Pass ISD
  • Flour Bluff ISD
  • Keller ISD
  • Lovejoy ISD
  • Nacogdoches ISD
  • North East ISD
  • Red Oak ISD  

Texas has invested in its AP students and teachers since 1995 through the Texas Education Agency’s Advanced Placement® Incentive Program. Some of the innovative approaches employed as part of this program include funding AP teachers’ professional development and sponsoring awards for high achieving AP students. In 2012, over 7,000 Texas teachers were provided scholarships to attend AP Summer Institutes. 

At its core, AP is a collaboration among college faculty and administrators, states, districts, schools and teachers working together to provide academically-ready students with the access to the rigor they deserve.

The 9th Annual AP Report to the Nation and the state supplement for Texas are available at apreport.collegeboard.org.