Florida remains a leader in pushing high school students toward college credit.
The Sunshine State keeps its no. 4 ranking in the latest report on Advanced Placement courses from the College Board. Only Maryland, Connecticut and Massachusetts had a larger percentage of students pass at least one AP course. And only Massachusetts has made faster improvements over the last 10 years.
That ranking looks all the more impressive after accounting for demographics. Florida’s percentage of students who qualify for free- or reduced-price lunch exceeds the other three leading states by double digits.
It’s also unlikely AP courses are simply cannibalizing other college-credit options for high school students. The state is a leader in dual enrollment.
Several policies likely help explain Florida’s higher-than-average AP attainment. Schools and teachers can get cash bonuses when their students succeed in the courses. And it has a statewide policy requiring higher education institutions to offer credit to students who pass AP exams.
Some observers will note that which courses students take also matters, and that Florida isn’t as impressive in STEM subjects. There are also glaring racial gaps in college credit opportunities nationwide, especially for black students. So while Florida can’t say “mission accomplished,” it does have something to celebrate.