JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – During the 2021-22 school year, the number of Mississippi students taking and passing Advanced Placement (AP) exams reached a record high.

Leaders with the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) said 10,534 public school students took 14,788 AP exams, and 5,573 exams earned a qualifying score. The exam pass rate reached an all-time high of 37.7%.

In 2020-21, 8,775 students took 12,515 AP exams. The pass rate was 37.4%, with 4,678 exams earning a qualifying score.

According to MDE, AP courses are college-level courses offered by trained high school teachers. Research shows AP students are better prepared for college and more likely to graduate college in four years than non-AP peers.

Overall AP achievement in Mississippi increased by 19.1% between 2020-21 and 2021-22. Hispanic and African-American students achieved the greatest AP gains, with the number of Hispanic students earning a qualifying AP score of 3 or higher increasing by 45.4%, and the number of African-American students achieving a qualifying score increasing by 44.4%.

Courtesy: MDE

All eight Mississippi public universities grant three college credits to students with AP scores of three or higher and up to six credit hours for certain exam subjects with AP scores of four or five. That means students who are taking AP courses this school year can reduce the cost of attending a Mississippi university.

Courtesy: MDE

“The number of Mississippi students participating and achieving success in AP courses has more than doubled over the past decade because districts have prioritized and expanded access to AP courses statewide,” said Dr. Kim S. Benton, state superintendent of education, interim. “When students are given the opportunity and support to achieve at higher levels, there is no limit to what they can accomplish.”

MDE implemented an AP Initiative in 2015-16 to increase statewide participation in AP courses.

Starting this school year, the Mississippi State Board of Education requires all high schools to offer and ensure students enroll in advanced courses including AP, Cambridge International or International Baccalaureate courses.