Montgomery County students did better on Advanced Placement exams last school year than they did the year before, and the county’s students continue to outperform their peers in the state and nation, according to College Board data the school system released last week.
The scores continue to go up even though more students are taking the exam each year.
In 2012, 16,797 students took 32,974 exams, compared to the 16,260 students who took 31,734 exams in 2011, according to the data. The number of students grew by about 3 percent, and that growth is supported by an increasing student body; the number of students going to Montgomery County schools grew 1.7 percent from 2011 to 2012.
AP tests are scored on the basis of 1 to 5 points. A score of 3 or higher indicates that the student is “college ready” in that subject and is qualified to receive college credit or advanced placement.
The percentage of exams taken by Montgomery County students who earned a score of 3 or higher increased from last year from 71.8 percent to 75 percent — the percentage has grown slightly from five years ago, at 73.7 percent. In the state and the nation, 61.4 percent and 57.3 percent of exams earned a college-ready score.
The data also shows that the school system is chipping away at gaps that exist between the percentage of black and Hispanic students who pass at least one exam and the percentage of white students who pass at least one exam.
In 2012, 84.1 percent of white students, 64.9 percent of Hispanic students and 54.6 percent of black students passed an exam.
The gaps slightly decreased this year, down 2.9 percent to 29.5 percent for white and black students and 2 percent for 19.2 percent for white and Hispanic students, respectively.
Except for students enrolled in English for Speakers of Other Languages, a higher percentage of students in all student groups passed at least one exam; that includes all race groups, low-income students and special education students.
The increase in performance and participation shows that the school system’s efforts to increase access to the exams and better prepare students for the exams, said Shirley Brandman, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education.
The school system is “breaking down barriers and providing more challenging curricular activities for students of all races and ethnicities,” Brandman said.