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More Hawaii students earning college credit through AP exams

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Some 1,001 seniors in Hawaii public schools scored high enough on Advanced Placement exams last school year to get college credit, up 60 percent from 2001.

But Hawaii still ranks well below other states in the percentage of public school seniors earning college credit via AP courses, according to a report released yesterday from the College Board, the nonprofit that administers AP tests.

In 2010, 9.4 percent of Hawaii public school seniors earned college credit through rigorous AP courses.

Maryland topped the nation at 26.4 percent, followed by New York and Virginia.

Mississippi came in last, at 4.4 percent, with Louisiana and North Dakota rounding out the bottom three.

The national average was 16.9 percent.

Hawaii in recent years has tried to boost participation in AP by helping high schools create programs or offer online AP classes.

Anna Viggiano, education specialist with the state Department of Education’s gifted and talented program, said the increase in the number of Hawaii seniors getting college credit shows the state is "making gains."

"I’d like to see us make more," she added.

Statewide, 2,095 students in the class of 2010 took an AP course sometime in high school, up from 1,150 in 2001.

Of those, 48 percent scored high enough to get college credit on at least one exam. In 2001, 54 percent got credit.

Over the past decade, the number of Hawaii low-income students taking AP exams has also risen, to 405 last school year from 258 in 2006.

Among low-income seniors in 2010, about one-third got college credit.

The College Board report released yesterday shows the AP program is growing nationally, with more students than ever getting college credit, but that low-income and minority students continue to lag behind their peers.

Nationally, more than 508,000 seniors got college credit through AP in 2010, up from 278,000 in 2001.

In Hawaii, the most popular AP courses for the class of 2010 were English language and composition, English literature and psychology.

Just one Hawaii senior took an AP physics course that concentrates on electricity and magnetism. Two students took AP Chinese and three took Japanese.

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