New data show Missouri students have increased their scores on Advanced Placement exams over the past decade, and at least two Kansas City area districts are doing exceptionally well.
In the class of 2016, nearly 7,000 students scored 3 or higher on the exams — more than double the 3,400 students who attained that score in 2006.
Data released Friday by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education showed that 61 percent of Missouri students who took Advanced Placement exams scored 3 or higher. Missouri outpaces the national average of 56.2 percent scoring 3 or better.
A score of 3 indicates a student is qualified in a subject, 4 is well qualified, and 5 is extremely well qualified.
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Six school districts in the state, including the Liberty and Smithville school districts, were named to the AP District Honor Roll for increasing the number of Advanced Placement classes available to students while maintaining a high percentage of students scoring 3 or better on the exams.
In Liberty, the district offers 18 Advanced Placement courses, including five or six courses that were added in the last decade. Rosemary Camp, Advanced Placement coordinator for Liberty, said the growth in the program is attributed in large part to the enrollment growth in the district.
“We have had more students asking for more upper-level courses,” Camp said. “We try to be responsive to our students’ interests.” About half the high school students in the district have taken at least one Advanced Placement course. Camp said Advanced Placement students in Liberty test well because of “top quality teachers,” many with master’s and doctorate degrees.
In a statement, state education officials said that students who score 3 or higher often earn higher grade-point averages in college, and are more likely to graduate from college in four years.
Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven praised the districts and the students for doing well.
“Congratulations to these school districts and to all the Missouri students who made such great progress on AP exams,” Vandeven said. “AP coursework is challenging and rigorous, and we are proud of these students and their teachers.”
The other four school districts making the state’s Advanced Placement honor roll are Kirksville, Nixa, Parkway and Washington.
Advanced Placement exams will be offered in May. Discounted fees are available for qualified low-income students.