Every year, the College Board releases its Advanced Placement Report to the Nation. It’s a virtual treasure trove of data on the college preparatory course exams, with information broken out by race and ethnicity, economic status, state and subject area.
According to the College Board’s recently released report, Latinos made up about 18% of AP-exam takers in the Class of 2012.
Among the graduating class of 2012, there were 169,521 Latino graduates who took an AP exam during high school. About 41% of the exams taken by Latinos earned a three or higher, typically considered passing. In comparison, about 63% of exams taken by white students resulted in scores of three or higher.
While Latino participation in AP courses is growing by leaps and bounds, they still are not well represented in math and science coursework.
The Spanish Language exam remained the most popular exam among Latinos in the graduating class of 2012–63,329 students took the course. That means that about 37% of graduating Latinos who took at least one AP exam, had taken an AP Spanish course.
And Latinos made up about 64% of all the Class of 2012 students who took the AP Language Exam. Meanwhile, Latinos made up about 13% of the students who took AB Calculus.
Many educators argue that the class is a gateway to other AP classes for Hispanic students–once they perform well, they tend to go on to enroll in other classes. Students often take the class in middle school and pass the exam. But there are others who are critical of the fact that many of the students already speak Spanish when they are tested.
The four courses behind Spanish in popularity among Latino students were English Language and Composition (59,597), United States History (52,740), English Literature and Composition (50,028), and United States Government and Politics (32,410).
The lesson here is, don’t just ask your school district for an overall passing rate by ethnicity.
If your district is touting that more Latino students are taking AP courses–what courses are they taking and are they passing the exams? Also, what AP courses do the campuses even offer?
Enjoy digging through the data!