More students are taking Advanced Placement exams, but the percentage who fail the exams has also increased -- leading some to question whether some students are ready for the rigorous AP lessons and whether educators are being properly trained to teach the classes. An USA TODAY analysis shows 36.5% of students failed the exams in 1999, compared with 41.5% in 2009. The percentage of students failing the exams was even worse in the South: 48.4%. However, data show that Maryland has had success in enrolling more students in AP classes and in the number who are passing the exams and earning college credit.

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