It is so funny that you mention this. I noticed the same effect in Florida. The black passing rate in 2000 was 32%, by 2010 it had dropped below 18%, and then in 2011 it popped up 2%. For example, in Indiana the black passing rate was 23% in 2000 and by 2010 had dropped to 17.5%, and then in 2011 it popped up to 19.9%, almost 2%. Massachusetts didn't get a big pop. In MA in 2000 the black passing rate was 54% (that should have been the news item). By 2010 it had dropped to 34.6%, in 2011 it only rose to 34.7%.
There is a reason for the pop silly pants. They eliminated guessing in 2011. The slide will continue, just watch.
And that statistic about AP creating more success because the absolute number of students passing the exams is rising, even though the passing rate is tanking, is FRAUD. Do you remember Boston Chicken (now called Boston Market)? In the early 90's they were growing like wildfire, new stores everywhere. The problem was that the growth was a sham. They were opening 100's of stores and tripling in size every couple years, but these were franchises and the revenue they were reporting was the initial purchase of the franchises. The franchises themselves though were TANKING, very much like the AP programs in these schools is TANKING. The company declared bankruptcy, the stock went to zero.
The College Board is running the same scam. The growth in number of kids and number of kids passing is because the College Board is adding schools like Boston Chicken was adding stores. But the schools themselves are TANKING!
I have a post coming soon that explains why Florida is tanking so fast in AP.