Utah students continue to outpace nation on AP, SAT tests

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Press releaseSALT LAKE CITY - In 2009, 16,361 Utah students, 93 percent of whom were public school students, took AP exams with a pass rate of 65 percent, beating the national pass rate of 59 percent, according to data released today (August 25, 2009) by the College Board.

Utah participation in AP programs increased by nearly 5 percent over 2008 and the passing rate increased slightly over 2008 when the public school passing rate 64.6 for all schools and 64.7 percent for just public schools. In 2009, all Utah schools had a passing rate of 65.4 percent and public schools had a rate of 65.2 percent. Nationally, the passing rate for public schools was 56.7 percent and 58.9 percent for all schools in 2009.

AP exams are taken at the end of the school year by students who have completed AP coursework. A grade of 3, 4 or 5 is considered passing and is eligible for college credit.

"More Utah students are taking more AP classes and performing better on the exams than last year and performing better than the national averages. I see this as good news for Utah," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Larry K. Shumway. "We are heartened to see large percentage increases among both Hispanic and black students but are working to get more AP participation from all of our racial and ethnic minority students."

Participation in AP testing was up across the board in Utah, but the largest percentage increases were among black students (up 27.5 percent to 88 students) and among Mexican American students (up 23.5 percent to 410 students). In all, Hispanic participation was up 850 students including Mexican American, Puerto Rican and other Hispanic students. White students still constitute 83.9 percent of AP test takers in Utah while they account for 79 percent of the student population.

The College Board also released figures on SAT participation in Utah. In 2009, 2,023 students took the SAT college entrance exam and earned average scores of 559 on reading, 558 on math and 540 on writing compared to the national average of 501 on reading, 515 on math and 493 on writing. For Utah, the scores were down two points on reading, up one point of math and down three points on writing. Nationally, reading and writing were each down one point while math remained steady.

Public school students account for 53 percent of the total of SAT test takers in Utah. Private or home-schooled students make up the rest. Just counting public school students, Utah's average SAT scores were 584 in reading, 581 in math and 559 in writing. Public school scores were down two points in reading, one point math and four points in writing. Few Utah students, public or private take the SAT exam. Just 3 percent of Utah public school students take the SAT. More than two-thirds of Utah public school seniors, by contrast, took the ACT college entrance exam.

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Top Ten Utah Public High Schools for AP Participation

School                          Test Takers
Davis High School                       672
Alta High School                        612
Lone Peak High School           522
Park City High School           501
Skyline High School             500
Brighton High School            424
Hillcrest High School           413
Riverton High School            392
Woods Cross High School         352
Viewmont High School            350
<b>Top Ten Utah Public High Schools for AP Passing Rate</b>
School                                  % Passing
Delta High School                               88.0
Juab High School                                86.4
Davis High School                               84.6
Mountain View High School               83.9
Bountiful High School                   83.3
Itineris Early College High School      80.0
Park City High School                   78.4
Timpview High School                    77.3
Skyline High School                     77.2
Viewmont High School                    75.9
<b>Top Ten Utah Public High Schools for SAT Participation</b>
School                  Test Takers
West High School                112
Park City High School   105
Skyline High School     98
Brighton High School    56
Alta High School                40
Davis High School               36
East High School                30
Timpview High School    27
Bingham High School     26
Hillcrest High School   26
Viewmont High School    26
<b>Top Ten Utah Public High Schools for SAT Scores</b>
School                                  Combined Score
Spanish Fork High School                1952
Murray High School                      1935
Logan High School                               1927
American Fork High School               1891
Mountain View High School               1885
West High School                                1874
Provo High School                               1852
Davis High School                               1847
Bountiful High School                   1840
Clearfield High School          1823</p>

(Courtesy of the Utah Office of Education)

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