Bonita Springs News


Date ArticleType
3/4/2014 General

Florida AP Scores Show Students Making the Grade

Florida AP Scores Show Students Making the Grade

Florida's economy continues to change and a quality education is more important than ever. Our state's future economy depends on a talented workforce that can compete in a global economy, and a strong education system is Florida's best long-term economic development strategy.

Consider that in 2010, six in ten jobs didn't exist in 2000. Looking toward the future, Florida needs to fill the gap created between our current education system and the needs of Florida's employers by diversifying our economy and creating job opportunities for generations to come.

There's no doubt that Florida is moving in the right direction. More than 462,000 private-sector jobs have been created in the last three years. And Florida has the potential to add 198,000 new jobs in 2014 - providing Florida families with greater opportunities. Yet, right now, there are 285,000 available jobs in our state, and nearly 60,000 are STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)-related jobs.

Florida's students are making great strides. Florida fourth grade reading scores are number one in the U.S. and number two in the world. Florida's African American student achievement gains are number one in the U.S, and graduation rates among Florida's Hispanic students is also number one in the U.S.

Now, new data from the College Board shows that Florida has made significant progress with the Advanced Placement (AP) Program. More and more students now have access to AP. In fact, more than 53 percent of Florida's public high school graduates in the class of 2013 took an AP exam - that's up from one-fourth in the class of 2003.

The percentage of graduates who earned AP Exam scores of 3 or higher (scores typically required for college credit) rose from 15 percent a decade ago to more than 27 percent in 2013. Florida is the only state with 20 percent or higher Hispanic graduates to close the equity gap in both AP participation and performance among Hispanic students. And, Miami-Dade County Public Schools was named an AP District of the Year for its ability to offer a broader, more diverse population of students increased access to the rigor of AP courses while simultaneously supporting student success.

Bottom Line: More of Florida's public high school students are developing the skills needed to excel in college and earn a college degree.

In Florida, we are fortunate to have leaders who are committed to the value of AP. State lawmakers have put accountability systems that encourage school and district leaders to focus on both AP course availability and student success on AP Exams in place. The Florida Partnership for Minority and Underrepresented Student Achievement provides assistance to schools serving traditionally underserved student populations. Lawmakers also established a system-wide agreement for awarding college credit for AP Exam scores of 3 and higher among the state's public colleges and universities.

While impressive, we must keep moving forward. During the 2014 Legislative Session, lawmakers have the opportunity to continue moving Florida forward.

At the Florida Chamber, we remain focused on bolstering our state's early learning programs, broadening student access to AP's rigorous courses so that more students can earn a college degree, supporting Florida's higher education system and preparing our state's workforce for a global economy.

Fostering a talent supply pipeline focused on Florida's future will help job creators successfully compete in a global marketplace. Florida wins when we stay focused on connecting the talent pipeline to future career and college opportunities.

Courtesy of the Florida Chamber