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February 15, 2011

The College Board Advanced Placement Exams have always been considered a mark of scholastic achievement, and while New Jersey public school students performed fairly well on the tests, they are neither on the top rung nor are they advancing as quickly as students in other states. In 2010, 18,214 public school seniors took the AP exam and achieved a score of 3 or above, out of a total of 25,016 public school students who took the test. (A 3 on the scale of 1 to 5 is considered a C.) The College Board quantified that outcome as 18.6 percent of graduating public high school students having had a "successful AP experience." That ranked New Jersey as 13th in the country. Nationally, the figure was 16.9 percent.

In 2001, only 13.3 percent of New Jersey public school students achieved a successful experience, but the state was ranked seventh in the nation. Other states, such as Vermont and Georgia, have since overtaken New Jersey and are showing higher levels of achievement. Maryland, with 26.4 percent of its public school students achieving a 3 or higher, ranked the highest in the nation, followed by New York and Virginia, which had 24.6 percent and 23.7 percent of their students attaining a 3 or better on the test in 2010.

Still, New Jersey did better than neighboring Pennsylvania and Delaware, which had 12.7 percent and 15.4 percent of their public school seniors achieving at least one 3 on an AP test. Delaware, in particular, has seen a huge jump in its success; in 2001 only 8.1 percent of its public school students had a positive experience with the AP test.

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