Education Commissioner Tony Bennett called the latest report “very encouraging news” in a statement released by his office.
“This report shows that years of hard work on the part of Florida’s teachers are producing results. Florida’s students are clearly graduating high school better prepared for college, careers and life,” Bennett said.
More than 39,000, or 27.3 percent, of Florida high school graduates left school in 2012 with at least one successful AP score. In 2002, about 17,250, or 14.4 percent, did.
Florida State University was featured in the national report, with university officials saying they liked to see AP courses on a high school student’s transcript. Such classes show students are challenging themselves, they said, and, once they start college, students with AP in high school post higher grade-point averages than those who never took the courses.
Florida stands out as a state that has managed to get “underserved” students into AP classes, particularly its Hispanic students, the College Board said.
In the Sunshine State, Hispanic students take and pass AP exams at a percentage that is greater than their overall population.
While some have questioned if their success is because so many Hispanic teenagers take the AP Spanish language exam, Packer said the College Board has stripped out those scores and found that in Florida, Hispanic students still succeed in AP.
“Florida’s performance is still tremendous,” he added.
The state’s efforts to expand access to AP classes does mean it is “taking risks on large number of students,” which is why so many students struggle on the AP exams, he said.