ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland schools outpace the rest of the nation when it comes to college readiness. And now, school leaders statewide are seeing another encouraging trend among minority students who take Advanced Placement classes.

Gigi Barnett explains.

Advanced Placement classes are some of the toughest courses on the state’s curriculum, and passing a test to get college credit for AP classes is even harder to do.

New numbers released this week show Maryland’s AP courses surpass other states. But what’s even more promising is that African-American and Hispanic students are doing just as well.

“For me this is huge,” said State School Superintendent Dr. Lillian Lowery.

Lowery says her office pushed to boost the number of all students taking AP classes statewide. About 11 percent of graduating black students who took the AP exam passed it, and 8 percent of Hispanic students did too.

“What it says is when we say that all children have a free and appropriate public education and access to rigorous courses, we have the data to prove it in Maryland,” Lowery said.

“I’m stressed out and I know I’m getting a lot less sleep than other students, but I’m like, ‘Next year is going to be a breeze,’” said Alexxus Richardson.

That’s how Alexxus Richardson knows she’s ready for college—after taking three years of AP courses at Annapolis High School and passing the exams several times. It’s what colleges look for.

Students say while their teachers noticed their talent, it was their parents who encouraged them to take tougher classes.

“My dad told me ‘Why don’t you take AP?’ It’s really important to them because not only is it preparing me for college, but it’s actually giving me a little bit of a pat on the back,” said Adan Meneses.

When it comes to AP classes, the state has quality and quantity. Maryland also has the highest number of students taking Advanced Placement math and science courses as well.

State school leaders say nearly 20 percent of all students who took the AP exam passed it.


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