Despite increasing access to Advanced Placement (AP) courses, a recent report found that the upward progress of Black high schoolers was stifled by the all-too-familiar achievement gap.

According to the College Board’s annual “AP Report to the Nation,” more than double the amount of Black students passed one or more of the rigorous college-level classes than in 2001. Passage rates for Black seniors ballooned from nearly 7,700 in 2001 to roughly 19,600 in 2010.

Yet, Blacks remain underrepresented in the college-prep classrooms.

As a whole, more than half a million students excelled in AP last year, but Blacks accounted for only 4 percent of the population. While Maryland topped the list of states producing the most students to test out of AP courses, less than 10 percent of them are Black.

Hawaii and South Dakota were the only states to achieve 100 percent equity measured by Black passage rates and overall population.

Latino graduates fared better than their Black peers. Their high score rates grew from about 33,500 in 2001 to 74,480 in 2010. Further, the number of students considered low income to test out increased from close to 53,660 in 2006 to 84,130 last year.

The fast-paced classes test students’ ability to master advanced concepts and paves the way for college credits.

“AP can level the playing field for underserved students, give them the confidence needed to succeed in college, and raise standards and performance in key subjects like science and math,” College Board President Gaston Caperton said in a statement.