SALT LAKE CITY -- More Utah high school seniors took and passed college Advanced Placement exams in 2011 than in 2010, indicating that more are planning ahead, academically, to attend college.
And more Utah high school seniors took the 2011 SAT exam than in 2010. The exam scores are used by some universities, especially those in the Eastern United States, to judge students. All Utah state universities judge students based on scores from the ACT exam. So the increase in Utah students taking the SAT could mean that more graduating seniors are considering attending college out of state.
"It is gratifying to see more Utah students better prepare themselves for college by taking these courses, and it is heartening to see their work and the work of their teachers pay off with above-average passing rates," said Utah Superintendent of Public Instruction Larry K. Shumway.
According to information released this week by the Utah Department of Education:
SBlt All six of the Ogden Preparatory Academy's students taking the AP tests passed, earning it a 100 percent pass rate, tying a Green River school for first place in the state.
SBlt Davis County schools with a Utah Top 10 AP passing percentage were Davis High School, with 85 percent passing, and Bountiful High School, with 79.9 percent passing.
SBlt Davis High earned the state's top spot for Advanced Placement test takers, with 741 students taking the exams to try for college credit, awarded for scores of 3, 4 or 5.
SBlt National SAT mean scores were 497 in reading, 514 in math and 489 in writing. Utah students beat those national mean SAT scores, but some Utah scores were down from 2010.
Davis School District has a history of good results when it comes to these kinds of student achievement tests.
"With AP, we actually had 364 more students than last year take the classes," said Chris Williams, Davis School District communications director. "That makes me proud. If you have a handful of great AP teachers in the building, they pretty much build their own program. Their classes are challenging but popular, and kids want to take them."
As for the SAT, Williams reiterated that only a small percentage of Utah students take that test, making percentages less meaningful.
"We had 130 students take the SAT in 2011, and we had 4,691 who took the ACT," he said of the Davis District. "For the SAT, we had 15 more students take it in 2011 than in 2010, but our results were really good. We went up 21 points in math and three in writing, compared to the national average, which went down one point in both math and writing."
On the state level, a total of 2,124 Utah students, 61 percent of them from public schools, took the SAT and earned a mean score of 563 on reading. That's a five-point decrease from 2010. Utah students scored 559 on math, no change from 2010, and scored 545 on writing, a two-point decrease.
The state report also indicated that more minority students are taking and passing Advanced Placement tests.
Statewide, female AP test takers are up 6.9 percent from 2010, and males are up 8.3 percent. American Indians are up 8.3 percent; Asians are up 10.3 percent; blacks are up 1.7 percent; Mexican-Americans are up 5.6 percent; and whites are up 7.7 percent from 2010.
"We're also pleased to see more minority students taking advantage of AP courses and doing well in them," Shumway said.