See which parts of California have the most high school overachievers

By Phillip Reese -

A growing number of California high school students are acing Advanced Placement tests.

High school students can take AP classes to earn college credit. A test is given at the end of the class. The test is scored from 1 (worst) to 5 (perfect). A 3 is usually good enough to earn credit. Scores of 4 or 5 can sometimes earn more college credit.

The number of perfect AP test scores in California has more than doubled in the last decade, going from about 40,000 during the 2004-05 school year to about 82,000 in the 2013-14 school year, according to the California Department of Education. (The number of California high school seniors only increased 20 percent during that period.)

As with most measures of student performance, affluent students tend to do better on AP tests than economically-disadvantaged students. Ninety-six of the 100 California schools with the highest proportion of perfect AP scores have a lower percentage of students living in poverty than the statewide average, according to a Bee review of state eduction data.

Students in the Bay Area, particularly Silicon Valley, are most likely to nail AP exams. Los Angeles and San Diego also have a disproportionate share of perfect AP scores. In the Sacramento region, students in suburban counties tend to do best.

These graphics show the proportion of high schoolers scoring a perfect 5 on AP exams:



alifornia Department of Education

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