Blacks Are Increasing Their Participation in the Advanced Placement Program

Over the past two decades there has been a huge increase in the number of black students who are taking challenging Advanced Placement courses in high school. A successful grade on an AP examination at times can earn a high school student college credits.

In 1985 there were only 2,768 black high school seniors taking Advanced Placement courses in the United States. At that time blacks made up just one percent of the more than 270,000 AP students. By 1990 black participation in AP programs had more than doubled. That year black high school seniors took some 6,800 AP exams.

By 2009 the number of AP exams taken by black seniors had jumped to 152,726, more than 22 times as many exams that were taken by black students in 1990.

If we include all students who took AP examinations in 2009, not just high school seniors, we find that 122,512 African Americans took a total of 186,083 AP tests.

In 2009 blacks took 6.5 percent of all AP examinations administered in the United States, up from 4.6 percent in 2003 and 6.1 percent in 2008.