JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - More Mississippi students are taking Advanced Placement exams and achieving higher scores. And that's good news for a state working hard to promote higher education.
In the 2016-17 school year, 9,369 students took a total of 14,076 AP exams. The number of students participating was up 14.2 percent over the previous school year. And the number of students earning an AP score of 3 or higher also increased 19.8 percent to 4,440. Among minority students, the number scoring a 3 or higher was even more impressive at 28 percent.
"The AP experience is beneficial to students because it exposes them to college-level material and helps them develop the study skills that are needed to be successful in college," said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. "As schools continue to provide students with challenging learning opportunities, AP achievement in Mississippi will continue to rise."
Students who score 3 or higher on an AP exam can receive college credit from the college or university where they enroll, which reduces the cost of their college education. These high-scoring students also tend to take more coursework, make higher grades, and are more likely to graduate from college within four years.
That cost savings can have a huge impact on students from low-income families. That's why the U.S. Department of Education provides Mississippi with a grant that subsidizes the cost of AP exams for students from low-income families. But while 71.6 percent of students qualified for the subsidy last year, only 31.1 percent of students took an AP exam using the fee subsidy.
"Mississippi students have proven they can master college-level coursework while in high school," Wright said. "There is no limit to what they can achieve when they are challenged and given the right help and support."