Governor Susana Martinez announced today that for the second consecutive year, New Mexico's Hispanic high school students rank No. 1 nationwide for their success in Advanced Placement courses, demonstrating the ability to succeed in the college classroom. The report shows that nearly half of Hispanic high school graduates in 2013 took an AP course. Of those students, 43 percent scored a three or higher on the exam -- the highest percentage in the country.
"I am so proud of New Mexico's students for this remarkable achievement," Governor Martinez said. "When we talk about reforming education to bolster student success in the classroom, this is exactly the outcome we're looking for. We're at the top of a national list, and our AP students and teachers deserve all the credit."
The report also found that New Mexico's families are saving money through AP courses. In 2013, New Mexico's students as a whole took a total of 5,936 AP exams that resulted in a score of three or higher. Because students earn college credit when they score a 3 or higher, they earned an estimated total of 17,808 college credits in 2013. At an average of $200 per credit hour, this means that the total potential cost savings for New Mexico's students and families was more than $3.5 million.
"AP classes help prepare kids for college by showing them they can master the material," says Governor Martinez. "And the incredible news for mom and dad is that those classes count as college credit, saving New Mexicans more than $3.5 million in tuition money last year alone. Those are direct savings for our families who work to put their kids through college."
Additionally, New Mexico low-income students rank No. 2 nationwide for their success in AP courses. Nearly half of New Mexico's low-income students who graduated in 2013 took an AP course. And out of those students, almost 40 percent were successful -- the second highest in the country.
AP courses offer the opportunity for students at participating schools to take rigorous, college-level courses of study for the chance to earn college credit through testing while still in high school. AP coursework allows students to challenge themselves with a more rigorous course load, thereby improving their college applications, increasing their knowledge, and offering the opportunity to save money on tuition once enrolled in college.
Increased participation and success in Advanced Placement (AP) classes are key factors in helping students better achieve in high school and become more academically and financially prepared for college. Governor Martinez supports further expanding access to AP classes -- particularly in economically disadvantage areas, and she supports recruiting and training new AP teachers and rewarding teachers who increase the number of successful students in AP courses.
Last year, Governor Martinez secured $750,000 and a state grant of $1 million from the non-profit College Board to expand AP programs. That funding is being used to:
-Provide $5,000 stipends to AP teaches who improve student achievement in their class from one year to the next;
-Translate AP materials to Spanish and Navajo, with the goal of increasing parental involvement to support their children in taking AP courses;
-Develop the students and subject areas where offering AP courses would yield the best results;
-Develop online AP courses to make sure students in rural areas have access to these high level courses;
-And support pilot-projects for middle schools in Pojoaque, Bernalillo, Carlsbad and Zuni to prepare minority and low-income students for AP classes in high school.
This year, Governor Martinez's education budget includes $2 million to continue the successful expansion of AP access and support services throughout New Mexico.
"We can see these results," Governor Martinez said. "Our efforts to expand AP courses and make them available to more students are paying off and helping families save more than $3.5 million on college tuition. That's why I am asking lawmakers to approve $2 million in AP funding, so that we can continue to build upon our success."
"As we can see today, our investment is paying off," said Secretary Hanna Skandera, who joined Governor Martinez at the announcement. "This is why it's so important that we continue to implement reforms that send money directly into the classroom -- not bloated bureaucracy."
AP is a program run by the College Board, a national non-profit membership organization committed to excellence and equity in education. Every year, the College Board puts together the AP Report to the Nation -- which compiles student performance on AP exams across the country.