Challenging Courses Net Results for Maine

College Board report shows Maine excels in Advanced Placement courses and exams

AUGUSTA – A new report from the College Board shows that efforts by school districts and more than 800 Maine teachers to challenge their students with rigorous courses are paying off.

Maine now ranks 12th in the nation for the percentage of students in the Class of 2010 having at least one successful AP experience: almost one in five Maine high school seniors has taken a college-level course and scored at least a 3 out of 5 on the AP exam, considered suitable college-level performance and eligible for credit at many colleges and universities. Maine has a higher percentage of students participating in AP courses than the national average, and a higher percentage of students scoring well on the AP exams.


Maine is also one of the top states for increasing the percent of students scoring well on an AP exam. Only three other states had a higher rate. Maine’s rate increased by 4.8 percent over five years.

Maine’s continued success is the result of continued high expectations for all students. Unlike the restrictive admissions policies used in some states, Maine’s AP courses are open to all students and results show that this open enrollment has not resulted in lower success rates; to the contrary, students in all socioeconomic and minority subgroups are showing success. Research supports that challenging courses prepare students best for success in college, correlating with a greater likelihood to graduate college within four years and to succeed academically in college.

“Maine students need to be challenged by high expectations,” said Gov. Paul LePage. “Maine students will meet the expectations we set for them – whether they are high expectations or low expectations. This is the kind of rigorous course work I’ve been talking about and that we need to be offering even more of in Maine. This shows that we can challenge and educate our students to their fullest potential and prepare them for college. We just need to do it even more.”

Out of 33 possible subject areas, the most popular AP courses for the Maine Class of 2010 were: U.S. History, English Literature and Composition, English Language and Composition, Calculus, and Biology. Other course choices include Chinese, Computer Science, Design and Mechanics.

“This is evidence that teachers matter and make a difference,” said Education Commissioner Angela Faherty. “They come together to mentor one another, share their experiences and expand their teaching strategies. Their dedication and skills have yielded excellent results.” Teachers go through additional training and must be certified by the College Board in order to teach an AP course.

Andrea Levinsky, one of two student members of the State Board of Education, knows first hand the value of the AP courses.

“As a senior at Deering High School, I have taken many AP classes, and appreciate that they give me the rigor I need to feel confident in applying to a competitive college,” Levinsky said. “AP classes prepare students for the future in ways that no other classes can. I am so proud of Maine’s success in AP participation and achievement.”

“I love that we are making such progress in increasing access to AP courses to students all over Maine,” said Dr. Dotie Martin, a State Board member from Aroostook County. “We have an opportunity to build on that success in higher education, ensuring that more of our students have a successful college experience and enticing those students to stay in Maine.”

Additional AP facts from the 2010 AP Report to the Nation:

  • Almost one-third (31.6 percent) of the Class of 2010 took an AP class. Of those, 57 percent scored at least a 3 – considered suitable college-level performance.
  • Over nine years, Maine has gone from the national average in successful AP participation (take an AP exam and score at least a 3 on the AP exam) to well above the national average.
  • Participation and success rates in Maine’s minority communities and among low-income students is better than in most states and the national average. In just four years, the number of low-income students taking and scoring well on AP exam rose by 59 percent.
  • The number of Maine seniors taking at least one AP exam during their high school years doubled from 2001 to 2010. In total, 4,034 students in the class of 2010 took 12,774 AP exams during their high school career.
  • 46 percent of Maine public high schools offer AP courses in the four core subject areas (English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies) compared to 34 percent nationally.

David Connerty-Marin | Director of Communications | 207-624-6880 | David.Connerty-Marin@Maine.gov