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California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #17-66
September 26, 2017
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Praises California's Progress in Advanced Placement® and other College-Readiness Exams

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that more students in California are demonstrating their readiness for college by taking Advanced Placement® (AP) and Scholastic Aptitude Test® (SAT) ®exams.

According to figures released today, the number of California high school students taking college-level AP tests went from about 300,000 to nearly 370,000 from 2013 to 2017.

Participation in AP tests increased among nearly all segments of California’s diverse student body during that period. The number of Latino students taking the tests went up 6.5 percent, and African Americans went up about 3 percent.

The number of graduates who scored at least a 3 out of 5 on an AP exam during high school—a result that may qualify for college credits—increased from 185,000 to 226,000 from 2013 to 2017. Some demographic group results also increased. The number of Latino students reaching a 3 or above grew from 54,000 to 82,500.

In California, 52 percent of Class of 2017 high school graduates took the SAT, higher than the national average of 46 percent.

“Congratulations to all these students for their dedication and commitment to completing these challenging courses and then taking tests that demonstrate their knowledge. These students are ready, willing, and able to succeed in higher education,” Torlakson said. “I also congratulate the teachers, parents, administrators, and families for supporting their students’ dreams.”

Participation rates and test results also increased for the SAT and Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT), which is an indicator of college readiness. For example, the number of eleventh grade students taking the PSAT went from 156,000 to 220,000 from 2013 to 2017.

Success in AP courses is one measure of the College/Career Indicator included in the California School Dashboard.

California has a variety of initiatives underway to help prepare more students for college, including a one-time $200 million College Readiness Block Grant (CRBG) program administered by the California Department of Education (CDE).

The funds can be used for a variety of purposes, including paying for AP and International Baccalaureate examination fees, developing or purchasing materials that support college readiness, including college entrance exam preparation, and for counseling services.

Improving access to college has been a top priority for Torlakson. “Our society and our economy thrives when everyone has an opportunity to reach their full potential,” he said. “That’s why I am so pleased that more students are challenging themselves by taking more difficult courses and getting ready to attend college.”

For more information on the operation of the College Board's AP program External link opens in new window or tab. in California, please visit the CDE AP Web page.

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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Wednesday, December 9, 2020
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