For the second year in a row, New Mexico tops a positive list. Gov. Susana Martinez announced that Hispanic high school students in our state ranked number one nationwide for their success in Advanced Placement courses, demonstrating the ability to succeed in the college classroom. The governor highlighted the report on AP success during a news conference Feb. 1 at UNM while visiting students were on campus competing at the VEX Robotics competition at Centennial Engineering Center. The report shows that nearly half of Hispanic high school graduates in 2013 took an AP course. Of those students, 43 percent scored a three or higher on the exam – the highest percentage in the country.

“I am so proud of New Mexico’s students for this remarkable achievement,” Gov. Martinez said. “When we talk about reforming education to bolster student success in the classroom, this is exactly the outcome we’re looking for. We’re at the top of a national list, and our AP students and teachers deserve all the credit.”

The report also found that New Mexico’s families are saving money through AP courses. In 2013, New Mexico’s students as a whole took a total of nearly 6000 AP exams that resulted in a score of three or higher. Because students earn college credit when they score a 3 or higher, they earned a total of 17,808 college credits in 2013. At an average of $200 per credit hour, this means that the total potential cost savings for New Mexico’s students and families was more than $3.5 million.

“AP classes help prepare kids for college by showing them they can master the material,” says Gov. Martinez. “And the incredible news for mom and dad is that those classes count as college credit, saving New Mexicans more than $3.5 million in tuition money last year alone. Those are direct savings for our families who work to put their kids through college.”

UNM’s Enrollment Division found that 20 percent of students entering this university have an average of ten AP credits. Nearly 90 percent of those students are retained to their second year in college and have earned 25 to 30 percent more hours toward a degree after one year at 

The governor also announced that low-income students in New Mexico rank No. 2 nationwide for their success in AP courses. Nearly half of those students who graduated in 2013 took an AP course. And out of those students, almost 40 percent were successful – the second highest in the country.

AP courses offer the opportunity for students at participating high schools to take rigorous, college-level courses of study for the chance to earn college credit through testing while still in high school. Gov. Martinez said she supports further expanding access to AP classes – particularly in economically disadvantage areas. She also supports recruiting and training new AP teachers and rewarding teachers who increase the number of successful students in AP courses. 

Last year, Gov. Martinez secured $750,000 and a state grant of $1 million from the non-profit College Board to expand AP programs. That funding is being used to:

** Provide $5,000 stipends to AP teaches who improve student achievement in their class from one year to the next;

** Translate AP materials to Spanish and Navajo, with the goal of increasing parental involvement to support their children in taking AP courses;

** Develop the students and subject areas where offering AP courses would yield the best results;

** Develop online AP courses to make sure students in rural areas have access to these high level courses;

** And support pilot-projects for middle schools in Pojoaque, Bernalillo, Carlsbad and Zuni to prepare minority and low-income students for AP classes in high school.

This year, Gov. Martinez’s education budget includes $2 million to continue the expansion of AP access and support services throughout New Mexico.

AP is a program run by the College Board, a national non-profit membership organization committed to excellence and equity in education. Every year, the College Board puts together the AP Report to the Nation – which compiles student performance on AP exams across the country.