Failure rate for AP tests climbing
That the average AP score would decline while more students take the AP is really not surprising. It’s a pretty common phenomenon: as more new, initially-underprepared students flood in, the average is drawn down. We’re seeing this in Georgia with the schools that are just starting AP CS (many at minority-majority high schools). It’s going to take some time for the teachers to get better, for the school to figure out how to best prepare the students.
What I found more interesting is that Physics scores are rising, while English Literature scores are declining. Why would that be?
The newspaper’s analysis finds that more than two in five students (41.5%) earned a failing score of 1 or 2, up from 36.5% in 1999. In the South, a Census-defined region that spans from Texas to Delaware, nearly half of all tests — 48.4% — earned a 1 or 2, a failure rate up 7 percentage points from a decade prior and a statistically significant difference from the rest of the country.
College Board officials say it’s misleading to lump all scores together, because some tests have vastly different historical pass rates. Scores on AP Physics tests, for example, are consistently up; those for AP English Literature are dropping.