AP Exam Participation Increases 11% in 2013; Doubles in Past Two Years

Records are meant to be broken: after Des Moines Public Schools students took an all-time high of more than 1,800 AP exams last year, starting today more than 2,000 AP exams will be taken throughout Iowa’s largest school district.

Students in Iowa and across the nation are taking Advanced Placement exams this week and next. And in Des Moines Public Schools, the number of AP exams being taken by students continues to increase, with this year more than 11% above last year’s record number and nearly twice the number of exams taken two years ago.

“Des Moines Public Schools is a leader in Iowa and the nation when it comes to offering students access to high-level academic programs, such as Advanced Placement and the International Baccalaureate,” added Superintendent Tom Ahart. “Our students are to be commended for taking of these world-class educational opportunities.”

“The school district’s effort to make Advanced Placement courses available to more and more students throughout all five comprehensive high schools in Des Moines is showing that our students are stepping up to meet the challenge,” said Amber Graeber, Advanced Placement and Social Studies Coordinator for Des Moines Public Schools. “We are providing hundreds of students access to classes that will help prepare them for college and beyond.”

Students may take AP exams each May at the end of Advanced Placements courses. Many colleges and universities provide students with college credit for exam scores of three or higher (on a scale of one to five).

In 2011, students in Des Moines took a total of 1,024 AP exams; two-thirds of those were taken at Central Academy. In 2012, Des Moines students took a total of 1,834 AP exams; more than 60% of those were taken at the five comprehensive high schools.

This year, students in Des Moines have registered to take 2,036 AP exams, an increase of 11% over last year and nearly doubled the number from two years ago.


Last week, the Iowa AP Index – released by the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education at the University of Iowa – for the first time ever listed all five Des Moines high schools among the top 50 AP schools in the state. In addition, Central Academy once again received special recognition for having the highest score in Iowa on the AP Index. The rankings are based on the number of AP exams taken by students and the number of graduates from the spring of 2012. The rankings are based on data from last year, and do not reflect this year’s increase.

For additional information about Advanced Placement, visit www.collegeboard.org.