Mississippi is achieving its goal of having more high school seniors take the rigorous Advanced Placement exams, but the pass rate is only slightly improved.

The number of Mississippi public school graduates that took an Advanced Placement exam doubled over the past 10 years, according to a report issued by the College Board on Wednesday.

However, the percentage of Mississippi seniors in 2017 who scored a 3 or higher on an AP exam — the grade needed to be considered for college credit — was the lowest in the nation at only 6.5 percent.

In 2007, only 10.7 percent of Mississippi graduates took an AP exam, and 3.5 percent scored a 3 or higher on the exam. In 2017, 20.7 percent of graduates took at least one exam and 6.5 percent achieved a passing score.

AP courses are college-level courses offered in high schools by trained teachers. There is currently no uniform policy among colleges and universities about accepting AP credits.

“Mississippi’s students benefit from increased participation and performance in AP courses, and we will continue to encourage opportunities for all students to have access to rigorous courses and to receive credit for passing the exams,” State Superintendent of Education Carey Wright said.

Read more from The Hechinger Report’s Mississippi Learning newsletter here.

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Kate Royals is a Jackson native and returned to Mississippi Today as the lead education reporter after serving in the same capacity from 2016 to 2018. Prior to that, she was a reporter for the Clarion-Ledger covering education and state government. She won awards for her investigative work, including stories about the state’s campaign finance laws and prison system. She was a news producer at MassLive in Springfield, Mass., after graduating from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communications with a master’s degree in communications.