August 31, 2004
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Legislative Liaison
(505) 827-7803 or
Pager: 988-0582

Advanced Placement Participation Rises in State;
Minority Participation Grows to 40.7 Percent

(Santa Fe, NM)--New Mexico experienced a 7.5% increase in the number of public and private Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) candidates in 2004, according to a state summary report issued today from The College Board. The number of candidates reached a six-year high of 5,312. The number of exams taken by students grew by 11.3% over 2003, to 8,532. And there was 18% growth in the number of grades of 3-5 as compared to 2003.

Governor Bill Richardson said, “The Advanced Placement Program is an integral part of our efforts to prepare New Mexico students for higher education I’m pleased to see that more students, including Hispanics, are taking the exam. That’s a sign that we’re making progress in closing the achievement gap in New Mexico.”

Secretary of Education Dr. Veronica C. García said, “The era of low expectations is over. AP in 2004 saw increases in participation, particularly by Hispanics, and scores of 3-5 on exams. This program is key to bringing all students to high levels of academic achievement and preparing them for future opportunities. I will not accept decreases in participation for any reason. Schools must continue opening doors so that participation can continue to grow.”

Forty-one percent (40.7%) of all candidates in New Mexico are minorities (Hispanic, American Indian, Asian and Black), compared to 29% nationwide. Hispanic participation in 2004 reached a six-year high in New Mexico of 32%, or 1,712 candidates, up from 24.3% in 1999. The number of exams taken by Hispanics increased by 16.4% and scores of 3-5 for Hispanics grew by 27.5%.

American Indian participation decreased by 26.6%. However, overall American Indian scores of 3-5 on exams grew by 47.1%, compared to 13.1% growth in scores of 3-5 for American Indians nationwide. Scores of 3-5 for American Indians in New Mexico’s public schools increased 23.1%. Scores of 3 or higher are sufficient to qualify for college or university credit for equivalent courses.

2004 Scores of 3-5 on AP Exams (On a five-point scale)

# of Grades 3-5 by American Indians Change from Last Year # of Grades 3-5 by Hispanics Change from Last Year

In the state’s public schools, 12% of students participated in AP. Black public school test-takers increased by 7%, Hispanics increased by 14.5% and Whites increased by 7.2%. Scores of 3-5 on exams increased by 22.7% for Blacks in public schools, 31.4% for Hispanics and 21.2% for Whites. Forty-five percent (44.7%) of AP exams taken by public school students earned grades of 3-5.

In both public and private schools, the largest number of AP exams were given in English Literature and Composition (17%), English Language and Composition (15%), History: United States (13%), Mathematics: Calculus AB (11%) and Spanish Language (6%).

AP Music Theory saw a 192% increase in the number of exams taken, AP Human Geography saw a 171% increase, AP Statistics saw a 122.2% increase, Physics C: Mechanics saw an 83.7% increase and AP Spanish Language saw a 45.9% increase.