Missouri high school students are realizing the benefits of taking college-level or advanced placement courses before they enter college, thus saving themselves thousands of dollars.

The state education department also has noticed an increase in how students have score on the AP exams. During the 2011-2012 school year, students who had high scores ranging from a three to a five (one being the lowest and five being the highest) increased by 12.2 percent from the previous year.

 Education department spokesman Sarah Potter says the number of students receiving high AP exam scores has increased 44 percent in the last five years.

“I think families are realizing that the cost of education has gone up considerably and the more of these AP classes that students are able to master, and to get credit for, it’s a huge savings when they start school. If they can get three or four classes out of the way in high school, they’re that much closer to receiving their college degree,” she says.

Potter says a few factors are good behind the increase in high scores on the AP exam:

“A lot more Missouri students are seeing the benefit of those AP classes that college content in their courses, and really, they’re probably going to see a lot of college savings by taking these courses.” She says there is a fee associated with the tests, but when you compare that to the cost of college credit, you’re talking about hundreds or thousands of dollars in savings when they go to college by getting these credits through the AP system.”

Another factor Potter mentions is the increasing competitiveness in college entry, especially for Ivy League schools that expect many of their students to have already taken AP level courses. She says a lot of schools want to see that the student can handle college level classes, even if the student might not score high on the AP exams.


AUDIO: Mary Farucci reports (1:02)