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Annual Advanced Placement (AP) results show that the number of California public high school graduates taking and passing AP courses continues to climb, with the number of graduates from low-income backgrounds taking at least one AP exam tripling.

The 10-year anniversary (2003-13) “AP Report to the Nation” by The College Board shows that 40.6 percent of California’s public high school graduates in the Class of 2013 took an AP exam, compared to 25.3 percent of graduates in the Class of 2003. The number of Class of 2013 students in California taking an AP exam grew from 86,303 in 2003 to 152,647, an increase of 66,344. The number of low-income students taking an AP exam during the same period increased from 18,677 to 64,539, an increase of 45,862.

California placed sixth in the nation in the percentage (26.9) of students who scored at least a 3 out of 5 on an AP exam during high school. California moved up from eighth on the list over last year and is one of 17 states to score above the national average of 20.1 percent. About 17.3 percent of graduates in the Class of 2003 achieved the same score.

“It’s important to recognize that not only are more and more students feeling equipped to tackle these college-level courses, but that more and more of them are succeeding,” Torlakson said. “Along with their schools and families, they are working hard to be ready for college, and I’m glad to see the numbers continue to climb.”

The report also shows growing AP participation among diverse student groups in California. The percentage of Hispanic/Latino AP exam takers in the 2013 graduating class was 38.3 percent, compared to 28.6 percent in 2003. The percentage of AP exam takers in the 2013 graduating class who were African American was 3.7 percent, compared to 3.2 percent in 2003.

Each year, The College Board honors three districts with a special reward recognizing success at expanding access to AP courses while also increasing the percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher on the exams. El Monte Union High School Districts in El Monte, California, was named the 2014 AP Equity and Excellence District of the Year for being the nation’s leader among medium-sized districts.

The following 28 other school districts from California were also named to The College Board’s most recent honor roll for expanding access to AP and increasing the percentages of students scoring a 3 or higher on AP exams: Alameda Unified, Carlsbad Unified, Central Unified, Chico Unified, Diocese of Sacramento, Diocese of San Jose, El Monte Union High School, Fillmore Unified, Fremont Unified, Huntington Beach Union High School, Irvine Unified, Kings Canyon Unified, Las Virgenes Unified, Los Alamitos Unified, Milpitas Unified, Oak Park Unified, Pajaro Valley Unified, Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified, Reef-Sunset Unified, Saddleback Valley Unified, San Lorenzo Valley Unified, San Luis Coastal Unified, San Ramon Valley Unified, Santa Ana Unified, Temecula Valley Unified, Tracy Unified, Tustin Unified, and Walnut Valley Unified.

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