Nebraska and Iowa high school students are less likely than students in other states to take Advanced Placement exams, according to a report released Tuesday.
But when they do, students pass the exams at rates fairly close to the national average.
That's according to the 10th annual AP Report to the Nation. The report was released by the College Board, which created the AP program.
For the graduating class of 2013, 54.9 percent of Nebraska students who took AP exams scored a 3 or better on the 5-point scale. A score of 3 is the minimum needed to get credit at many colleges. For certain college courses, 4s or 5s are needed. In Iowa, 64.7 percent hit the mark.
The national average was 57.4 percent.
Both states ranked near the bottom of the country in the percentage of graduates who took at least one AP exam while in high school.
Seventeen percent of Nebraska's 2013 graduates took at least one exam. In Iowa, 17.9 percent took one.
The national average was 33.2 percent.
Other states with substantial numbers of rural schools — Missouri, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming — also saw lower participation rates.
Many smaller school districts don't offer AP classes. They don't have teachers with the credentials to teach them. In some cases, students who take AP classes decline to take the exam.
Each exam costs $89, so testing can get expensive for students who take exams in multiple courses. Potentially, however, a student can save money by not having to take as many classes in college. Some students elect to take dual-credit courses instead.