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More city students took AP exams this year, but did more pass?

First some good news: The Department of Education just released data on how students performed on Advanced Placement exams last year. Participation is up slightly from last year, and it’s up more among black and Hispanic students, contrary to a national trend. The total number of New York City students who passed is also slightly up.

Here’s the bad part: A cursory glance makes me think that while participation is up, and the number of students passing is up, the proportion of students passing is down. For instance, among black students, 3,825 took tests last year compared to 3,390 in 2007. But the passing rate dropped to 27% from 28%. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If more students are taking the tests, it may be unfair to compare this year’s batch of test-takers to last year’s. But it’s not necessarily good, either.

Too bad only a very talented data analyst with no evening plans and no deadline would have time to write the full story. (Though the national numbers have been out for several hours, via the College Board, only the DOE can release New York City numbers. And the DOE only released the New York City numbers at 6:15. The press officer who did so compiled them into not an analyze-able Excel spreadsheet, but rather an upbeat list of talking points and a single Power Point slide.)

You can read more about national performance on AP’s here. I’ll try to have a better analysis by the morning.

UPDATE: I did call Andy Jacob at the press office to complain about the format of the release. He has not returned my call.

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