The Racial Gap in Advancement Placement Test Scores

According to the latest data from The College Board, in 2017, African Americans took a total of 307,427 Advanced Placement examinations. This was 6.4 percent of all AP exams taken that year

The average score on Advanced Placement examinations for African American students in 2017 was 2.03. On the AP scoring system of 5 to 1, a score of 2 is equivalent to a grade of D in a college-level course. For White students the average score on all AP tests was 3.02, roughly equivalent to a letter grade of C.

But there is a wide disparity in success levels for African American students on AP examinations. Of the 38 AP examinations offered in 2017, African Americans scored the highest on studio art, German, and one of the calculus tests. These were the only AP test where the mean Black score was higher than 3.0, equivalent to a letter grade of C.

The lowest average AP score for Black students was on the physics 1 test. The average Black score was 1.58. Blacks also posted low average scores on AP tests in chemistry, environmental science, and statistics.

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