AP testing skyrockets in Boise

In Boise’s four high schools, 1,985 students took Advanced Placement tests in 2014-15, a 24 percent increase.

There are several reasons for the spike. At Boise’s Borah High School, students who take an AP course are also being urged to take the AP test at the end of the course. Meanwhile, the state’s Fast Forward advanced opportunities program and the Boise Schools Foundation are helping students cover the $91 cost of the exams.

Don Coberly square
Don Coberly

AP enrollment is a bellwether measure as Idaho seeks to improve its lagging college attendance and completion statistics. The rigorous classes allow students to receive college credit while still in high school — provided a student takes the AP test at the end of the course, and scores at least a three on the test’s five-point scale. But even if students come out of an AP class without college credits, the experience is beneficial, Boise district Superintendent Don Coberly says.

“The experience of taking a college-level test that is offered nationwide will help a student to succeed in college,” said Coberly, who blogged last week about the Boise AP test numbers.

Here are some more bullet points from Boise:

  • In all, 3,890 AP tests were administered in Boise high schools, a 20 percent increase from 2014.
  • In 2015, test participation numbers increased at all four high schools — but the biggest increases occurred at Borah.
  • Increasing numbers of sophomores are taking AP tests — from 74 in 2010 to 320 in 2014.

As more Boise students take the AP tests, the percentage of students who passed has decreased somewhat.

This year, 72 percent of Boise students passed the AP tests, Coberly told Idaho Education News Tuesday. In 2005, that figure was 77 percent — when only 793 Boise students took at least one AP test.

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Nationally, 59 percent of students pass the AP test.

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