Utah Public School Students Increase AP Participation, Improve Scores

September 26, 2017

For Immediate Release

Contact:              Mark Peterson, public relations director, 801-538-7635 · mark.peterson@schools.utah.gov

Utah Public School Students Increase AP Participation, Improve Scores;
Utah Students Outperform Nation on SAT College Entrance Exam

SALT LAKE CITY – A total of 26,544 Utah public school students – a 5.4 percent increase from 2016 – took 40,755 advanced placement (AP) exams in 2017.  67 percent of those students earned scores of 3, 4, or 5, up from 66 percent in 2016 and good enough to earn college credit on those exams, according to College Board data. Nationally, 56 percent of public school students scored a 3, 4, or 5 on AP exams in 2017, College Board noted.

College Board also released data on Utah students who took the SAT college entrance exam in 2017. It showed 1,277 Utah students – 836 of them, or 65 percent, were public school students – took the SAT in 2017. Utah students averaged 614 in math and 624 in English for a combined average score of 1,238. Nationally the average scores were 538 in math and 544 in English for a combined average score of 1,060. College Board data showed that for just Utah public school students, the average math score was 630, English was 640, and the combined score was 1,269, which differs from the total of the two due to rounding. Nationally, public school average scores on the SAT were 517 in math, 527 in English, and a combined score of 1,044. Many of the Utah students who take the SAT are considering attending colleges on either the west or east coast. All Utah public school students take the ACT exam, which is used by colleges and universities in Utah and the Intermountain West.

Utah public school demographic subgroups increased both participation and performance on AP exams nearly across the board. Only students who are American Indian saw decreases in both participation (down 19.4 percent) and achievement (down 11.5 percent). Increases include:

Group % change participation % change scores of 3, 4, or 5
Asian 3.3 2.7
Black 2.6 19.8
Hispanic/Latino 7.1 10.7
Pacific Islander 10.8 50.0
White 5.5 6.5
Two or more races 2.1 7.4

“We are very pleased that a broader and deeper base of Utah students are preparing themselves for successful college experiences and for careers through AP exams,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson. “Members of the Utah State Board of Education and I join together in congratulating these students and in thanking their teachers and parents.”

Ten most popular AP tests in Utah public schools in 2017:

Test Number Mean score
English Language/Composition 4,887 3.06
Human Geography 4,447 2.71
United States History 4,267 2.82
English Literature/Composition 3,516 3.14
Calculus AB 2,845 3.26
Psychology 2,725 3.50
World History 2,609 2.84
Statistics 2,191 3.19
U.S. Government/Politics 2,138 2.97
Biology 1,571 3.02

Top ten Utah public high schools for AP participation in 2017:

School City Test Takers
Skyline Millcreek 723
Lone Peak Highland 711
Davis Kaysville 705
Park City Park City 684
Corner Canyon Draper 676
Highland Salt Lake 593
Hillcrest Midvale 592
Copper Hills West Jordan 584
Timpview Provo 571
Alta Sandy 566


Top ten Utah public secondary schools for AP passing rate in 2017:

School City % 3, 4, or 5
Millcreek Jr. High Bountiful 95.83
Davis Kaysville 92.75
Bountiful Bountiful 86.77
Beehive Science & Technology Sandy 85.71
Emery Castle Dale 83.33
Mountain Crest Hyrum 81.09
Lone Peak Highland 80.66
Brighton Cottonwood Heights 80.17
Bountiful Jr. High Bountiful 79.49
Woods Cross Woods Cross 79.25

The College Board web site has more information on SAT results. The College Board has provided the Utah State Board of Education public school results from AP exams in 2017, but is not expected to release more AP data until 2018.

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