Hawaii public school students continue to make strides on AP Exams

25-Oct-2018

More HIDOE students are both taking and passing Advanced Placement Exams.

HONOLULU – The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) continues to see increases in the number of students who are both taking and passing Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) Exams.

The Department saw across-the-board gains in the number of exam takers, exams taken and scores of 3 or higher for students tested in 2017, according to the College Board. 

Each AP Exam is graded on 5-point scale as follows: 5 = extremely well qualified; 4 = well qualified; 3 = qualified; 2 = possibly qualified; 1 = no recommendation.


School Year 2016-17
​School Year 2017-18
​% Change
​# of HIDOE Exam Takers
​6,599
​6,974
​+5.7 percentage points
​# of Exams Taken
​9,903
​10,456
​+5.6 percentage points
Students Scoring 3, 4 or 5
​4,178
​4,545
​+8.8 percentage points


The AP Program, with 38 college-level courses and exams, provides students with opportunities to take rigorous college-level courses while still in high school, and to earn college credit, advanced placement in college, or both.

The year-over-year increases are part of a trend of strong AP growth in recent years. Since 2012, the number of exams taken by Hawaii public school students has increased by 57 percent to 10,456 exams from 6,669 exams. The number of passing scores has increased by 75 percent to 4,545 from 2,599.

“This program supports our efforts to ensure college, career and community readiness for all of our students. These results are promising and demonstrate that not only are students being exposed to the rigor of college-level courses, but they are prepared to succeed at this high level,” said Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto. “Our schools utilize student feedback to tailor their AP offerings and provide rigorous courses that are relevant and that students want to take.”


Additional highlights from the College Board results include:

  • 821 students at 34 HIDOE schools — representing nearly 12 percent of students who took an AP Exam in school year 2017-18 — qualified for the AP Scholar Award, which is granted to students who receive scores of 3 or higher on three or more exams.

  • 159 students at 25 HIDOE schools qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.

  • 168 students at 25 HIDOE schools qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams.

  • 16 students at 11 high schools qualified for the National AP Scholar Award by earning an average score of at least 4 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams. 

  • 18 students at Waiakea, Roosevelt and Mililani High schools were awarded the AP Capstone Diploma by earning scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing. Schools need to apply to the College Board to become an AP Capstone school.

More than 3,800 colleges and universities receive AP scores annually from high schools. Most four-year colleges in the U.S. provide credit and/or advanced placement for qualifying exam scores.

For more information about the AP Exam and past HIDOE results, click here.

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