- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 5, 2015

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The number of Louisiana high school students taking tough Advanced Placement tests increased this year, along with the number and percentage earning scores that qualify for college credit, according to figures released Wednesday by the state Department of Education.

Enrollment in Advanced Placement courses grew from 28,009 in 2014 to 33,231 this year. The number of AP tests taken grew from 21,180 to 24,145 this year. The number of test-takers earning college credit qualifying scores jumped from 6,410 to 7,703 - an increase of nearly 1,300.

It was a 20 percent increase in the number of test-takers earning qualifying scores from 2014 to 2015. And, the department said, the number of qualifying scores has increased 89 percent since 2012.

In a Wednesday afternoon news conference, state Education Superintendent John White said all students who take Advanced Placement courses and tests benefit from the effort, even those students who fail to qualify for college credit.

White singled out a list of schools that have significantly increased participation by African-American students in the AP course work and testing programs offered through the College Board, a nonprofit education organization.

“These schools are obviously making a concerted effort to provide students who have been historically disenfranchised every opportunity that other high-achieving kids are getting,” White said. “And whether or not they’re passing the test, they’re getting exposure to college course work that is helping them in the end.”

The department said the number of black students earning college credit qualifying scores increased from 707 in 2014 to 920 in 2015, a 30 percent increase.

Where Louisiana ranks nationally in the percentage of students earning college credit isn’t yet known. White said the College Board would release results in September. White said the state has long ranked at or near the bottom but he expects to see progress in the September figures.

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