Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

More Black Students Took AP Exams in 2009 — Where and Why

December 24th, 2009 by Ajuan Mance


The positive developments in Black education rarely make the national news, and so you may well have missed the story out of Maryland and South Carolina, that significantly greater numbers of African American high school students are choosing to take Advanced Placement (AP) exams. This is an important change because, traditionally, Black students at all levels were discouraged from enrolling in honors and advanced placement courses. That greater numbers of African Americans are taking AP exams could mean that academic counseling for Black students has dramatically transformed in recent years, with guidance counselors becoming more supportive of Black student achievement. It might also mean that, in certain areas of the country, African American parents are becoming more involved in managing their children’s progress through school. I am certain that the increase in the number of Black students taking AP exams is due, in part, to the increase in the number of Black immigrants (from African and Caribbean nations) and their children enrolling in U.S. schools. As I have reported in previous posts, African immigrants and their children have significantly higher graduation rates from U.S. and English colleges and universities than any other ethnic group.

Whatever the reason for this change, the numbers are impressive. In Montgomery, Maryland, a full 14% more African American students took AP exams in 2009 than in the previous year. Montgomery school officials report that, across the district, the number of Black and Latin American AP exam takers has “practically doubled” within the last five years. (Source: The Washington Post).

A few states away, South Carolina has seen a similar increase in African American participation in the Advanced Placement testing program. The South Carolina Department of Education reports the following increases in Black participation and performance in AP testing:

The number of African-American students taking the tests during the last five years in S.C. public schools has grown 43 percent, according to the Dept. of Education. The number of African-American students scoring well enough to earn credit during that time period has increased 45 percent.

— Brian Cox for Fox News and

If the recent past is any indication, then 2010 should hold even greater promise for the academic performance of Black students across the nation.
Posted Ajuan Mance

Posted in African American Students, African Americans, Black Students, Current Events, Higher Education, race

One Response

  1. Sharmin

    Centuries of slavery and drtmiicinasion. We are improving through every decade but recessions such as the Great Recession that we just experienced adversely affect the poor disproportionately. In addition, as a result, some middle class people fall into poverty due to job losses and loss of savings.No one sensible expects the ill effects of past drtmiicinasion to disappear quickly but the improvements in the African American community have been fairly steady. As Vernon Jordan pointed out, however, at the National Urban League Conference last July, there is a gap growing within the African American community between the middle class and the poor. It must be addressed. Education has to be the focus. The jobs of most Americans are being threatened by globalization. The emphasis has to be on training for the jobs of the future, not just for African Americans, but for all Americans.Edit: I am African American and it never ceases to amaze me how blatantly racist some of the conservatives are regarding questions and answers on YA about African Americans. What does this accomplish?