New Jersey high school students who take Advanced Placement exams score among the nation's highest.
But a new report finds that low-income students often do not take the tests.
The College Board, which administers the test, says that nearly a quarter of New Jersey students who graduated from high school in 2013 scored well enough to receive college credit. That rate puts the state in the nation's top 10.
Maryland topped the list with nearly 30 percent of students gaining college credit.
"Because each AP Exam consists of questions developed by top-tier college professors, AP teachers use such questions to inspire students to work hard in developing the skills fundamental to college majors and careers -- the ability to explain key concepts clearly and precisely, to solve real-world problems, and to use evidence from primary source documents to build an argument," said College Board's senior vice president Trevor Packer. "Given the very high standards college professors set for AP students, American educators deserve great credit: first for encouraging many more students to challenge themselves in high school, and second for achieving a greater increase in high AP scores than low scores."
While students as a whole are taking the tests more often, low-income and minority students take them less often than others.
The study finds nearly one in three New Jersey graduates last year was from a low-income family. But low-income students made up about one-seventh of the test takers.