The College Board’s Advanced Placement program is expanding in American high schools, but as it moves from being a program primarily for elite students, the number of test-takers who fail A.P. exams is growing — although not as much as the number of those who pass, reports the New York Times. According to a College Board report, about 800,000 public high school seniors in last May’s graduating class, or 26.5 percent of the class, took an A.P. exam at some point in their high school career, almost twice as many as took A.P. exams in the class of 2001.

While the majority of students who take A.P. exams still earn a passing score of 3, 4 or 5, which is enough to earn college credit at many institutions, the share of failing scores has risen with the program’s rapid expansion. In 2009, about 43 percent of the 2.3 million A.P. exams taken earned a failing grade of 1 or 2, compared with 39 percent of the one million exams taken by the class of 2001…

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staff and wire services reports