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Success Academy High Schoolers Excel in the AP World History Exam

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JULY 23, 2020** Contact: Ann Powell 646-894-6407 [email protected] New York, NY — This Spring, when many schools and communities across the country were struggling with various versions of remote learning, some of them on the verge of giving up altogether, 445 Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts (HSLA) students — most of them Black — were sheltering in and studying up for Advanced Placement exams in 10 subject areas. Advanced coursework, and the credit and placement policies that go along with it, have been proven to increase college acceptance and persistence rates. Unfortunately inequitable access to advanced coursework opportunities, especially for Black students, continues across the country.
  • Last year about 1% of the 2 million Black high school students in the United States took the AP World History exam; fewer than 8,000 (about a third) of the 24,000 Black students taking the test passed, with 11% scoring at the advanced level of 4 or 5.  
  • Among HSLA students who took the AP World History exam, 117 of the 205 test takers were Black; 68% of them passed (scored a 3 or above), with 28% scoring a 4 or 5, more than double last year’s results for Black students nationally.
  • Overall, 62% of SA students — everyone in the class — passed the AP World History exam, commensurate with the pass rate for New York’s white students in 2019 (2020 comparable data is not yet available). 
  • More Black students at SA earned a passing score of 3, 4 or 5 on the AP Exams in Art History, World History, English Literature and Macroeconomics than in the entire State of Ohio last year, and nearly as many did so in Biology.
Out of the 423 HSLA students of color that took one or more AP exams across 10 subjects, 63% scored a 3 or above on at least 1 exam. Compare that to the fact that 23.9% of all U.S. public high school graduates scored a 3 or higher on an AP Exam during high school. Other highlights:
  • Of the 68 SA students who took the AP Macroeconomics test, 66.2% passed and 46.6% scored 4 or 5
    • Last year, fewer than 7,000 Black students nationally took this exam; 31% passed, 18% scored a 4 or 5
  • Of the 153 SA students who took the AP English Literature & Composition exam, 51.6% passed and 14.4% earned top scores of 4 or 5
    • Nationally, slightly more than 32,000 Black students took the AP Lit exam last year, with 21% passing and 6% scoring a 4 or 5
  • 153 SA students sat for the Biology exam; 51% passed, with 14.4% earning top scores of 4 or 5.
    • Nationally, 34% of Black students passed the AP Biology exam last year, with 9% scoring 4 or 5.
  • 32 SA students took the AP Art History exam; 81% passed, with 50% receiving scores of 4 or 5. 
    • Last year only 1,210 Black students in the U.S. took the AP Art History exam, with 40% passing, and 17% scoring a 4 or 5
    • Among New York State white students sitting for the AP History exam last year, 67% passed
Typically, AP courses are only available to students who attend selective schools or participate in advanced academic tracks. By contrast, all students at HSLA take at least three AP courses and sit for the culminating exams (SA covers all test fees). This year, 59% of HSLA’s 750 students, across all grades, took at least one AP exam this year; many took two exams and a few took as many as three exams.    The network’s ongoing work to grow the rigor, depth, and breadth of its K-12 curriculum and instruction is empowering a greater number of high schoolers to excel on these college-level tests. In 2017, a cohort of 50 10th and 11th graders were the first SA students to take AP exams. Since then the high school has expanded from two AP courses to ten, increasing student access, while maintaining and improving scores across most subject areas.   You can learn more about the academic program these scholars have experienced by perusing our elementary, middle, and high school (as well as the HSLA “Orange Book”).   press-release-chart-2020-3   press-release-chart-2020   press-release-chart-2020-2 ### ABOUT SUCCESS ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOLS Founded in 2006, Success Academy Charter Schools are free public K-12 schools open to all children in the state through a random lottery. With 45 schools across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, Success Academy enrolls 18,000 students, primarily children of color from low-income households in disadvantaged neighborhoods: 74% receive free or reduced-price lunch, 94% are students of color, 16% have disabilities, and 8% are English language learners. Success Academy schools received more than 17,000 applications for about 4,000 open seats for the 2019-20 academic year. For more information about Success Academy, go to

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