More California high school students appear to be preparing for college. The number of students taking college-level Advanced Placement, or AP, tests went from about 300,000 in 2013 to nearly 370,000 this year. AP exams are taken each May by high school students who've attended classes that are roughly equivalent to undergraduate college courses.
Robert Oakes with the state Department of Education says participation in AP tests increased among nearly all segments of California's diverse student body.
"Over the past four years the number of Latino students taking the test went up almost 7 percent and African American students went up 3 percent," says Oakes. Those are slight increases but we are seeing steady progress."
He attributes the increase to several things.
"We're investing more in school, we're out of the recession-years, we are increasing our testing," says Oakes. "We're telling students 'we want to help you get ready for 21st century careers in college' and more students and their families are clearly getting that message."
The number of students who scored at least a 3 out of 5 on an AP exam increased from 185,000 in 2013 to 226,000 this year. Students who score at least a 3 out of 5 may qualify for college credits.