Though Oak Park and River Forest High School students scored higher than the state and national average for students taking Advanced Placement exams in 2006, the number of blacks and other minority students taking the tests declined at OPRF this year.

The number of black, Hispanic and multi-ethnic students taking AP exams at OPRF dropped from 2005, a year that saw the most minority students enrolled in AP courses.

Of the 595 students who took 1,180 exams in subjects such as biology, psychology and music theory, 89 percent scored a three or higher, a increase of five percentage points from 2005, and higher than the national average of 59.7 percent.

But 25 black students took 46 exams in 2006, compared to 43 black students who took 88 exams in 2005. Among Hispanics, 13 students took 28 exams in ’06 versus 27 students taking 60 exams the previous year. For other multi-ethnic students, 10 took 17 exams in 2006 while 18 students took 34 exams in ’05. A total of 574 students took the AP exams in 2005.

The ’06 exams were administered in May.

The District 200 Board of Education discussed the results at its meeting on Thursday.

Enthusiasm over the number of students testing above the national average was tempered by the reality that not all students were reflective in that number.

“With 89 percent scoring above the national average, that’s very good, but it also says that we should probably have more kids involved in this,” said Fred Galluzzo, dean college advisor and AP coordinator at OPRF, on Friday.

Galluzzo said there hasn’t been a deeper analysis of the new numbers to explain the decline in minority participation in AP classes from a year ago.

He did suggest looking at AP enrollment numbers for African-Americans, based on the school’s Oct. 1 attendance data for the beginning of the school year, and what courses are being offered, as a starting point.

“One of the things that we could do is look at the number of African-American students enrolled and determine some trends from there,” Galluzzo said.

A score of three or higher on tests typically earn students college-level credit.

For black students taking AP exams this year, five exams received a perfect score of five; 14 exams received a score of four and 18 exams received a score of three.

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