The Racial Scoring Gap on Selected Advanced Placement Examinations

Over the past several weeks JBHE reported on the participation and scoring performance of black students on Advanced Placement tests. The data shows that blacks are increasingly participating in the program but very low percentages of black students are achieving passing grades on AP tests.

Now we turn our attention to the racial gap in scoring on the most popular AP examinations. Black students had a mean score of 2.40 on the French test. This was only slightly below the mean score of whites, which stood at 2.56. (The AP scoring scale ranges from a low of 1 to a high of 5 with a score of 3 considered a passing grade.)

On all the other widely taken AP tests, the racial scoring gap was significantly larger. The largest gap was on one of the two computer science tests. Here the mean black score of 1.72 was far below the mean white score of 3.20. Blacks also fared very poorly in comparison to whites on AP tests in economics, environmental science, and statistics.