According to recent data released by MCPS, the percentage of passing AP scores (3 or above) in Montgomery County public schools has been constant over the past five years, fluctuating between 72% and 75%. The most noticeable increase occurred among African American students by an average of nearly three percent from 2013 to 2014.
Not only are minority students’ scores going up, but also the number of exams they are taking. Montgomery County students as a whole took only 20 more exams this year than last year. African American students took a total 281 more exams this year than last year. Hispanic students also saw a smaller increase of 18 exams.
Over half of MCPS graduates have passed at least one AP exam. However, there are many issues with AP classes that may distort the actual achievement of our school system.
One concern is that over 25% of AP tests taken in Montgomery County public schools receives scores of 1 or 2. This generally correlates to below 30% of questions answered correctly. As for the students getting 4s and 5s on multiple AP exams every year, they may have the wrong motives. An anonymous junior in Montgomery Blair High School’s Magnet program is taking 7 APs classes this year. “I think since AP courses are some of the most challenging courses a school can offer, if a particular student has a profound interest in a certain subject, they should take the AP course to see what the subject is really like and challenge themselves.” But she added, “I think in reality students often take AP courses in order to bolster their resumes and appear academically oriented to colleges.”
For some students, the question isn’t about whether to take an AP class in a subject that they particularly enjoy; it’s about whether to self study for multiple AP exams in order to impress colleges.
Article by the MoCo Student Staff Writer Yaëlle Goldschlag of Blair High School