Education appears to be king in Maryland. According to new stats, more African-American students in the state’s class of 2012 successfully passed a tough Advanced Placement exam than ever before. And beyond this, the state leads the nation in the percentage of students who are college- and career-ready, according to the “Annual AP Report to the Nation” compiled by the College Board.
The 11.4 percent of black students who earned a score of 3 or better on an exam is a small fraction of the 29.6 percent of all Maryland seniors who passed a test. Still, the current numbers are among the highest percentages in the nation, reflecting the increased access and success for black students on the exams, reports The Baltimore Sun. More students in Maryland are taking the exams—in fact the number has more than doubled. According to state schools superintendent Lillian M. Lowery parents and students are being proactive in preparing for college. She told the Sun that “parents and students really stepping out there, ready to take these risks. We believe that every child should have access to the most rigorous curriculum possible.”
Maryland outpaced the nation, where 19.5 percent of students scored a 3 or higher. It was also the largest percentage increase of students passing the tests in the past 10 years.
“The state was among a few in the country in which both the number of students taking the tests, particularly among minorities and other underserved populations, and pass rates increased,” writes the newspaper.
While Maryland has increased access to AP testing, others states have been slow in doing so. College Board officials told the newspaper that the gap in the number of underserved populations who have access to the rigor of Advanced Placement courses remains a national struggle. While one in four AP students nationwide are underserved minorities, the proportion of those students who have the potential to excel in the classes still lags in some subjects. Three out of 10 African-American and Hispanic students, for example, potential to excel in AP math classes actually enroll in them.
Maryland also had the highest percentage of students in the counrty taking math and science assessments.
In 2012 Maryland passed the Maryland Dream Act, becoming the first state to allow qualifying undocumented immigrant students to access in-state tuition rates and state financial aid.