BOSTON (AP) — For the fourth consecutive year, Massachusetts has been ranked the nation's top state for the percentage of its graduating class that scored a three or higher on an Advanced Placement exam.

That's according to results released this week by the College Board that found that for the first time, one out of every three members of the class of 2019 in Massachusetts graduated with a score of three or higher out of a possible five on an AP test.

Massachusetts also had the highest 10-year percentage growth of graduates who scored a three or higher.

Nearly 48% of Massachusetts' class of 2019 took at least one AP exam while in high school.

Participation in AP exams by members of the class of 2019 rose by more than 1% compared to the prior year. The number of graduates who scored a three or higher rose by 3%.

A score of three or above on an AP exam indicates that a student is capable of doing the work for an introductory college-level course in that subject area, according to the College Board.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said the scores reflect the hard work of students and teachers.

Hispanic and black students increased both their participation and performance on the tests.

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