Florida may be near the top of the nation in the percentage of high school students earning Advanced Placement credit, but on AP exams that prepare students for science and engineering careers, the state is only average.
Florida placed 19th in an analysis of AP passing scores in six courses that help students advance along the science and engineering pipeline. Those courses – Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Physics B, Physics C Mechanics, Chemistry and Biology – are among the most demanding in the AP program. The analysis consisted of determining the percentage of 2012 high school grads who passed each of these six tests from data in the AP Report to the Nation. The six percentages were then added, yielding a number we dub the Science and Engineering Pipeline Advanced Placement (SEPAP) index.
Massachusetts led the way with a SEPAP index of 22.4, while Maryland (21.6) and New York State (21.3) were not far behind. Florida scored 11.4, behind regional leader Georgia (12.6).
Florida was near the middle of the pack in all the individual courses. For example, the percentage of Florida 2012 grads who had passed Calculus AB, which provides credit for Calculus 1 at the state’s public universities, was 4.1%. The leading state in this category was Massachusetts at 6.9%. Only 1.8% of Florida’s grads had earned credit for Calculus BC (equivalent to Calculus 2 at the state universities) while Maryland led in this category at 4.7%.
Massachusetts also led in the percentage of 2012 grads who had passed AP Chemistry (3.5%) and AP Biology (5.5%), while Florida was well behind in both categories at 1.5% and 2.1%, respectively.
Science and Engineering Pipeline – Advanced Placement (SEPAP)
New York 21.3
New Jersey 17.8
North Carolina 11.3
New Hampshire 11.1
South Carolina 10.3
South Dakota 10.2
Rhode Island 8.1
New Mexico 5.0
West Virginia 4.7
North Dakota 3.8
District of Columbia 2.4