Utah students outscored their peers across the country in the 1988 National Advanced Placement Test, with more students qualifying for the advanced program and producing better scores after completing courses.

It was the first time Utah students have fared better than students in other areas of the country. In 1985, 1986 and 1987, the state was less than a percentage point each year behind the national average.In 1988, 8,954 students took AP tests in Utah, with 70.7 percent receiving qualifying scores, Moss said. The compares with 67.3 percent of students nationally who successfully took the AP examinations, and is more than 3 percentage points over the average.

Dr. James R. Moss, state superintendent for public instruction, said that the recent College Entrance Examination Board figures show a dramatic rise over the past four years in the number of Utah students participating.

The college board sponsors the national program of testing, scoring and reporting in a variety of academic areas. Course outlines are furnished by the board for students across the country.

In the scoring system, students may earn grades from one through five, with three, four and five considered as qualifying.

In 1985, 6,148 Utah students took the AP tests. The number has risen consistently each year. From 1987, when 7,940 tests were taken, to 1988, the increase was more than a thousand examinations.

Moss said the increase in Utah's scores for 1988 is proof that "Utah's education tax dollars are working more productively than ever before."

Utah's participation in the national program since the state became affiliated in 1962 has been extraordinarily high. A greater proportion of Utah students has consistently been involved in AP programs than in any other state, Moss said.

"The Utah State Office of Education is making a major effort to restructure our programs to enable more students throughout the state to take advantage of Advanced Placement opportunities," he said. "This progress is the product of enhanced efforts to bring about the improvement of instructional quality that shows Utah students are learning more and are learning it better."