Each year, millions of high school students enroll in Advanced Placement courses. The accelerated classes, which can range from art history to calculus to Latin, culminate in a final test. How students perform on their AP exams can factor into the college admissions process and even allow them to receive college credit ahead of time.

While AP exams have become commonplace at schools throughout the country, they remain a contested subject. On the one hand, AP courses can provide students an opportunity to pursue a more challenging curriculum in their favorite subjects. On the other hand, AP exams force educators to teach to a test and impose a financial burden on students (the fee for each test is $93).

For the time being, however, AP exams are here to stay. As the new school year continues to ramp up, StartClass, an education research site powered by Graphiq, decided to see which states have the highest success rates on AP tests.

Using data from the Civil Rights Data Collection on U.S. public schools (grades nine through 12), the data experts found the states with the most students who took an AP exam and received at least one passing score (a "3" or higher). States are ranked in ascending order by their passing rates. Data comes from the 2013-14 school year, the most recent year available.

As a region, New England tends to fare the best, with five states making the top 10. Conversely, the southern states consistently rank on the bottom of this list. Lastly, it's important to note that some public schools do not report or do not offer AP classes. In North Dakota, for example, over 47 percent of students have no access to AP classes.

*Note: The U.S. Department of Education was alerted to issues in the data Florida submitted to the CRDC. For this reason, we did not include Florida on this list.


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