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Montgomery Schools Post All-Time High on AP Tests

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By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 8, 2008; 6:18 PM

Montgomery County school officials today announced the school system's best results on college-level Advanced Placement testing, with gains for black students and the county as a whole.

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Superintendent Jerry D. Weast cited competing magazine rankings as evidence Maryland's largest system, with 139,000 students, now offers arguably the premier AP program in the nation.

Three county high schools appear on a list of the nation's top 100 from U.S. News & World Report, published online last week and based in part on AP and International Baccalaureate test performance. Weast said only the million-student New York system had more "gold medal" schools.

Six Montgomery schools rank among the top 100 on Newsweek magazine's 2008 Challenge Index, a measure of AP and IB test participation created by Washington Post education writer Jay Mathews. Weast said no other school system had as many schools at the top of that list.

Speaking at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Weast said the county's students "are doing things that are historic, are doing things that, no matter who's measuring them, are coming out at the top of the chart in the United States."

Montgomery students took 25,921 AP tests this year, representing a 53 percent increase over six years. Of those tests, 18,306 earned a score of 3 or higher on a 5-point scale, a threshold for college credit.

Black students took 2,510 tests in Montgomery schools, of which 1,152 earned passing scores, another all-time high for the county. In each of the past two years, the Montgomery school system has ranked second behind New York schools for number of passing AP tests by black students. This year, black students in New York City schools yielded 1,313 passing AP tests.


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