In the last decade, many reports have come out decrying the poor quality of education in the United States and claiming that many American students are not graduating from high schools with the skills needed to compete in an international market.
Throughout the country, many high schools have responded to these criticisms by increasing the rigor of their instructional programs, frequently by introducing more Advanced Placement (AP) courses and encouraging more students to take the AP examinations offered by the Educational Testing Service.
An analysis of the number of students from Baltimore City Public Schools taking AP examinations indicates that the school system has not joined this national trend. In absolute terms, at 0.3 percent, the participation rate of BCPS students is very low. The more than 23,000 Baltimore City high school students took fewer than 80 exams last school year.