North Carolina students showed increased participation and success in Advanced Placement exams during the 2022-2023 school year and exceeded national averages.
This score increase follows the decreases during the COVID-19 pandemic according to a report from N.C. Department of Public Instruction released on Sept. 28.
From last year, the number of students in North Carolina taking at least one AP exam increased by 11.2 percent, compared to the national average of a 7.6 percent increase. This participation number also increased 1.8 percent since the 2018-2019 school year, the last pre-pandemic year. Nationally, this increase was only 0.37 percent.
North Carolina students also scored higher on the exams, with a 12.6 percent increase in proficiency since last year. A score of three out of five is considered proficient.
About 60 percent of students taking AP exams both in North Carolina and nationally are considered proficient.
Sneha Shah-Coltrane, the NCDPI's director of advanced learning and gifted education, said increased access to AP instruction has contributed to increased participation and success on exams.
“Not only is a kid getting into that seat in a classroom, they’re also being engaged with that instruction in a way that they’re able to be successful,” she said. “That, I feel like, shows the incredible efforts of our teachers and our communities.”
She said open enrollment policies within schools, such as taking away prerequisites and entrance exams, as well the “changing mindsets” of educators to see students in a successful light, have allowed for increased participation, especially for students of color.
This past year the number of AP exams taken by Black students in North Carolina increased by 14.7 percent and 20.6 percent for Latino students. Proficiency on these exams also increased 21.8 percent for Black students and 23.3 percent for Latino students.