Thousands of Additional Tennessee Students Take Advanced Placement Exams in 2017

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 | 9:15am

NASHVILLE — Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced today that more than 29,000 students took Advanced Placement (AP) exams in 2017 – a record high for Tennessee. In addition, the number of students who scored a 3 or higher, which makes students eligible for college credit at many institutions, increased from 15,065 last year to 16,240 this year. Across Tennessee, students earned as many as 79,833 college credits from the AP results – which is a 54 percent increase since the 2011-12 school year.

AP classes offer students the ability to take college-level course work and earn college credit based on their performance on the national AP exam. In recent years, the state has been encouraging schools to increase the availability and number of AP exams they offer as part of a diverse portfolio of early postsecondary opportunities. AP exams are one of the eight early postsecondary opportunities offered in Tennessee. Data shows students who take at least four early postsecondary opportunities, which also includes IB programs, dual enrollment, dual credit, and industry certifications, are more likely to be prepared for college.

"These results show that more Tennessee students are becoming better equipped for their next step after high school – which is great news for their future and the future of our state," McQueen said. "The more that students can take rigorous courses in high school, the better prepared they will be when they enter postsecondary. That's why it's critical that we see both increased success on AP exams and increased access to allow more students the opportunity to take them."

Statewide, 29,258 Tennessee students took 48,355 AP tests in 2017 – about 3,500 more exams than were taken last year – with the most popular subject areas being English language and composition and U.S. history.

Several districts also had encouraging results. In Franklin County, Maryville City, Collierville City, and Kingsport City Schools, more than 70 percent of AP exams taken earned a 3 or higher. Participation also increased across districts. Williamson County Schools had the most students participate this year: 4,902, about 500 more students than participated last year. Marshall County had the largest percent increase in students taking at least one AP exam, almost three times their participation from the previous year. Lincoln County, Johnson City, and Gibson County Special School District also had an over 50 percent increase in students taking at least one AP exam. 

For more information about the state's AP program and all of Tennessee's early postsecondary opportunities, visit the department's early postsecondary website or contact the department's director of early postsecondary, Patrice Watson, at Patrice.Watson@tn.gov. For district-level results, please contact your local school district. For media inquiries, please contact Sara Gast, director of strategic communications and media, at Sara.Gast@tn.gov or (615) 532-6260.