Some info about 2019 Math and Science AP® Test results

As we have done for the last several years after the AP® results are in, we have catalogued tweets from Trevor Packer, the College Board® Head of AP, as pertain to results for AP math and science classes. This information is publicly available – we have simply organized it as pertaining to “STEM” classes.  These are really important tidbits of information for students taking an AP class in 2019/2020, who should consider where students from previous years tended to have trouble. This is what Mr. Packer had to say, with tweets organized by course. Please also compare with our previous blogs from last 3 years, “Some info about 2016 AP® Test results” (link here) and “Some info about 2017 AP® Test results” (link here), and “Some info about 2018 AP® Test results” (link here)

First, these general remarks from 2016, 2017, and 2018:
Trevor Packer ‏@AP_Trevor June 12, 2017 When I report perfect scores, note that other perfect scores may emerge as late exams are scored, so the numbers are not final.

Trevor Packer ‏@AP_Trevor June 13 2016 As a reminder, AP Exams aren’t graded on a curve. So when more students demonstrate mastery, the percentage of 3s,4s,5s increases.

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor June 15, 2017 Students can check colleges’ and universities’ AP credit policies here, but should always confirm with the schools (Link Here).

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor June 19, 2017 (1/2) For all AP exams, profs + psychometricians shift points needed up /down depending on difficulty of questions. (wikipedia: equating)

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor June 19, 2017 (2/2) Thus any variations in exam difficulty=removed, so AP scores changes each yr reflect changes in student ability, not changes in rigor.

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor June 22, 2017 This online community is where AP teachers discuss teaching strategies, share resources, and connect: Link Here

Trevor Packer‏ @AP_Trevor May 24, 2018 85% of selective colleges and universities report that a student’s AP experience favorably impacts admission decisions (link here).

Trevor Packer‏ @AP_Trevor May 30, 2018 Counselors: Find tips on counseling first-generation college students (link here).

Trevor Packer‏ @AP_Trevor Jun 7, 2018 The AP Potential tool helps educators open the world of AP to academically qualified students who may otherwise be overlooked (link here).

Trevor Packer‏ @AP_Trevor Jun 12, 2018 A few other hypotheses from teachers about why AP Env Sci scores are generally lower than other subjects’: students not taking standard pre-req high school Bio & Chem classes first; not focusing on the mathematics in a college-level environmental science class; too much content.

Trevor Packer‏ @AP_Trevor Jun 19, 2018 There is still time to register for the AP Annual Conference in Houston, TX on 7/19-22. The Conference is your chance to connect with teachers of all 38 AP courses, AP Chief Readers, AP coordinators, and more (link here).

Trevor Packer‏ @AP_Trevor Jun 27, 2018 If you want to collaborate with AP teachers around the globe, the AP Teacher Community platform provides a great opportunity to share resources and discuss all things AP. Learn how to get started: link here

And some general remarks for 2019:
Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 10, 2019 AP exams aren’t scored on a curve or norm-referenced. This means that the percentage of exams earning scores of 3s, 4s, and 5s can increase each year if a greater proportion of students demonstrates mastery of the material. And the scores decrease if not.

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 10, 2019 If any students earned all points possible in a subject, I’ll share that info. If I don’t mention it, there are no perfect scores in that subject so far this year. We’ll notify such students and their schools in September.
Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 11, 2019 Each AP subject has up to 5 versions of the exam. The score distributions I post will contain data from all versions. I’ll then share info about exam questions for any versions of the free-response questions we have posted online. All other versions remain confidential.
Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 When many students score low on any given exam question, I share that info not to blame, but to assure that what was hard for one student was hard for many, and to assist teachers in identifying ways to strengthen their course.
Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 In fact, unusually tough questions don’t typically have a negative impact on AP scores. Why? To qualify for college credit, AP students need to earn the same number of points as college students whose results on AP questions we obtain.
Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 College professors who help us determine the points required for AP scores of 2,3,4,5 administer the AP questions to their own students, a great reality check. Stat analysis then allows us to see whether questions are more difficult than what college students were able to do.
Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 So when a question is tough for many AP students, it is usually tough for many college students as well, and AP students just need to earn the same points on such questions as college students who received Cs, Bs, As – those are the point requirements for 3s, 4s, 5s.
Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 I’ll continue to be transparent about the challenges as well as the successes the exam data reveal; educators deserve such transparency. I know the stakes can feel high, and emotions run accordingly. Let’s keep perspective: exam data are only one indication of a course’s value.
Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 14, 2019 I’ve never seen so many AP subjects increase performance in a single year. Remember that exam difficulty is statistically equated, students aren’t forced into a curve, so when scores increase like this, it’s a reflection of good teaching and learning.

And now for specific remarks about this year’s (2019) exams:

AP Physics 1

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 Overall, this year’s AP Physics 1 students demonstrated significantly stronger understanding and skills than prior groups; accordingly, there’s a significant increase in the percentage of students earning 3s, 4s, and 5s, the highest scores yet on this exam.
Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 The 2019 AP Physics 1 exam scores: 5: 6.2%; 4: 17.8%; 3: 20.6%; 2: 29.3%; 1: 26.1%.
Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 3 students, out of ~170,000 worldwide, earned all 80/80 points on this year’s AP Physics 1 exam.
Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 AP Physics 1 multiple-choice: no significant variation in performance across topics and skills; “wave models and applications” had slightly higher scores than questions on the other big ideas; “interactions between systems” had slightly lower.
Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 AP Physics 1 free-response: students scored best on Q1 (kinematics, collisions, angular momentum), but also scored quite well on Q3 (experimental design, energy). link here

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 AP Physics 1 performance: the biggest barrier to higher performance remains Q4, which requires students to write a paragraph explaining a physics concept. 20,000 students earned high scores on this question; 40,000 didn’t even attempt it, scoring 0/7 pts.

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 Students need more support developing and practicing the conceptual understanding of physics required for scores of 3+; to help we’re providing a free AP Physics 1 workbook, student and teacher editions available on our website for AP teachers to download from mid-July.

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 The new AP Physics 1 workbook contains 150 new & unique scenarios, for all units in the course, for use as classwork, homework, group assignments or quizzes. Also, from Aug 1, we’re providing free online practice students can access on their phones for every topic in the class.

AP Physics 2

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 This is the 5th year of the AP Physics 2 exam, & each year, student learning & achievement has increased, from ~8% scores of 5 in 2014 to ~12.6% scores of 5 this year. In other words: this year’s AP Physics 2 students have achieved the highest % of scores of 3+ yet for this exam.

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 The 2019 AP Physics 2 scores: 5: 12.6%; 4: 19.8%; 3: 31.1%; 2: 27.8%; 1: 8.7%.

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 1 student, out of ~25,000 worldwide, earned all 80/80 points possible on this year’s AP Physics 2 exam.

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 AP Physics 2 multiple-choice: students demonstrated solid work on “wave models and applications” and “conservation laws” and strong skills in “data analysis and understanding.” Lowest scores were on “interactions between objects” and “plans/implements data collection.”

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 AP Physics 2 free-response: students triumphed over Q2 on circuits. Nearly 20% earned all 12/12 points possible on it. Nice work. The most difficult question was Q4 on optics/fluids/thermal; the mean score was 3.7 out of 10 pts possible. Link here

AP Physics C, Mechanics

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 Yet another subject breaks a record this year: AP Physics C: Mechanics students have earned the highest scores this decade, ~36% (!) scoring a 5, compared to ~27% a decade ago. More than 80% scored 3+. Congrats and thanks. Our infrastructure, current and future, needs you.

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 The 2019 AP Physics C: Mechanics scores: 5: 35.9%; 4: 27.2%; 3: 18%; 2: 10.4%; 1: 8.4%.

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 1 student so far, out of ~58,000 worldwide, achieved all 90/90 points possible on this year’s AP Physics C: Mechanics exam.

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 I’ll report on the two sets of AP Physics C: Mechanics questions taken by the largest number of students. Here are links to the free-response questions in those sets — “Set 1”: link here and “Set 2”: link here

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 14, 2019 AP Physics C: Mechanics free-response results: in both sets, question 3 was somewhat more challenging for students than 1 & 2. Set 2 was slightly easier than Set 1, so Set 2 students must earn 3 more points than Set 1 students to earn a score of 3+.

AP Physics C, Electricity and Magnetism

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 AP Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism performance is slightly less strong this year than in 2018, but is still very impressive, a higher percentage of 3+ scores than from any of the earlier years of the decade (2010-2017).

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 The 2019 AP Physics: Electricity & Magnetism scores: 5: 34.6%; 4: 22.6%; 3: 13.9%; 2: 17.8%; 1: 11.1%.

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 Here are links to the two sets of AP Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism free-response questions taken by most students. “Set 1”: and “Set 2”:

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 13, 2019 AP Physics C: E&M free-response results: Q1 & Q3 were slightly more difficult in Set 1; Q2 was more difficult in Set 2. The net: the two sets are remarkably similar in difficulty, the only difference is that Set 1, just a bit easier, requires 1 more point to achieve a 4.

AP Computer Science A

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 14, 2019 Another record broken this year, this time by the AP Computer Science A teachers and students, achieving the highest scores yet in that subject. This is especially impressive since those teachers also provided access to ~5,000 more students this year.

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 14, 2019 The 2019 AP Computer Science A scores: 5: 27%; 4: 22.1%; 3: 20.8%; 2: 11.8%; 1: 18.3%.

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 14, 2019 A whopping 601 students, out of approximately 70,000 worldwide, earned all 80/80 points possible on this year’s AP Computer Science A exam.

Trevor Packer @AP_Trevor Jun 14, 2019 AP Computer Science A multiple-choice: students scored very well across every topic, but especially on programming fundamentals (of course) and on logic / software engineer