SALT LAKE CITY — The number of Utah students taking and passing Advanced Placement tests increased this year, according to figures released Monday by the College Board.

Compared to 2011, nearly 2,000 more Utah high school students took AP tests in 2012, which accounts for an increase of 10.5 percent. In all, a total of 20,449 students took 33,017 AP exams in 2012 and passed them at a rate of 68 percent — up 11 percent from the previous year, according to College Board data.

Nationally, 59 percent of students who take an AP exam receive a passing score, which is defined as a three, four or five and earns a student college credit. 

In a prepared statement, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Larry Shumway said increasing college- and career-readiness is a point of discussion nationwide, but Utah schools are delivering results.

"Utah is seeing greater participation, greater diversity in participation and still increasing test scores," he said. "This is great news not just for Utah schools, but for Utah's future."

The College Board's figures showed that AP participation in Utah was up across all ethnic and racial lines, with the exception of American Indians where participation fell by a total of nine students.

Hispanic students saw the largest increase in participation, with 23.8 percent — or 125 — more students taking an AP test.

Benjamin Wood