Number of AP tests hits all-time high in L.A. Unified

Students listen to Advanced Placement teacher Daniel Jocz lecture on 19th century American history during a class at the Downtown Magnet High School in Los Angeles.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
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The number of Advanced Placement exams taken in the Los Angeles Unified School District hit an all-time high during the 2013-14 school year. Students took 48,000 AP tests across the district, up 62% from seven years ago, L.A. Unified announced.

High school students take the rigorous exams for an extra academic challenge and, if they pass, to receive college credit or to be placed in a more advanced course.

Supt. John Deasy said he was proud of the results in Los Angeles Unified, the second-largest school system in the nation, as it pushes students toward being ready for college or work.


The number of AP course offerings in the district increased by more than 12,000, representing a 34% increase from 2006-07.

Despite a districtwide enrollment decline since 2006-07 of 13%, or about 23,000 students, 7,000 more students have pursued AP courses, a bump of 33%.

Enrollment among students of color taking the tests also jumped. This year, 30,000 Latino students took the exams, up 89% from 16,000 in 2006-07. The number of African American students has increased by 29% to 2,290 from 1,770.

Participation in AP courses and exams has increased in other metropolitan school districts as well over the years. Last year, students took 35,590 tests in the New York City Department of Education, which serves about 1 million students, compared to 2002 when 17,165 students took at least one AP exam.

The number of students enrolled in AP courses in Chicago Public Schools, another of the largest districts, increased 45% between 2006-07 and 2012-13.

Locally, with 39% to 42% students achieving a minimum score to pass or higher, pass rates have been stable since 2006-07. Van Nuys High School had the highest rate of students passing exams this year at 71.6%.


In 2013, California ranked sixth out of 50 states for the number of high school graduates achieving a passing score or higher, outpacing the national average by nearly 7%.

The nonprofit College Board administers the AP tests; they are scored on a numerical scale from 1 to 5.

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