AP Exam Participation Increases 80% in 2012

Students throughout 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 has increased more than 80% over last year.

“This year, the school district is in the midst of making Advanced Placement courses available to more and more students throughout all five comprehensive high schools in Des Moines,” said Amber Graeber, humanities coordinator for Des Moines Public Schools. “We have seen a significant increase in AP course enrollment at each high school, providing hundreds of students with 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.

This year, students in Des Moines are taking 1,846 AP exams, an increase of 80.3% over last year. The vast majority of the increase is taking place at the five comprehensive high schools. 





Central Academy




East High




Hoover High




Lincoln High




North High




Roosevelt High







+822 / +80.3%

“Des Moines Public Schools has a legacy as a leader in Iowa when it comes to offering students access to high-level academic programs, such as Advanced Placement and the International Baccalaureate,” added Crista Carlile, supervisor of Central Academy. “The work to further increase the availability of AP courses at all Des Moines high schools is going to not only add to that legacy, but more importantly provide the opportunity for more and more students to take college-level courses while in high school.”

Last week, the Iowa AP Index – released by the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education at the University of Iowa – listed two Des Moines high schools, Roosevelt and Hoover, among the top 50 AP schools in the state. In addition, Central Academy 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 2011. These ranking 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