PRESS RELEASE - August 26, 2003
New Mexico State Department
of Education

300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

Advanced Placement Continues to Rise in State As Participation Gap Closes for Minorities

(Santa Fe, NM)--New Mexico experienced an 11.2 % increase in the number of public and private Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) candidates in 2003, according to a state summary report issued today from The College Board. The number of candidates in 2003 is approximately double the number of candidates in 1998. And the state saw a 9.4% increase in the number of exams since 2002.

African Americans, American Indians, Asians and Hispanics showed increases in the numbers of candidates taking AP Exams as compared to 2002. Since 1998, there have been a 127% increase in the number of Hispanic candidates taking the AP Exam and a 129% increase in the number of Native American candidates taking the exam.

Overall, Hispanic students represent 30.4% of all AP candidates in New Mexico. The state’s AP minority participation is 41.2%, compared to 28.2% nationally.

“We’re closing the gap in AP participation in New Mexico,” said New Mexico State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael J. Davis. “Our gains are exceeding those in the nation.”

There were 4,348 exam participants in the state’s public schools in 2003 and 6,649 exams taken. Of the public school exam participants, Whites represented 49.7%, followed by Mexican Americans (18.1%), Other Hispanic (12.9%), American Indians (6%), Asian (3.4%), Blacks (1.3%) and Puerto Ricans (0.4%).

The College Board, which sponsors the AP Program, reported that since 1998, there has been a 25% increase in the number of public and private schools that administer AP Exams in New Mexico and that on 45.7% of the exams in 2003, students scored 3 or higher on a 5-point scale, sufficiently high to qualify for college or university credit for equivalent courses. In the state’s public schools, 40.8% received scores of 3 or higher.

State Superintendent Davis credited educators’ increased involvement, professional development and enthusiasm for the spread of AP in New Mexico but cautioned that performance trends reflect an achievement gap between whites and other ethnic groups, particularly American Indians, African Americans and Hispanics.