A growing percentage of California high school graduates took and passed Advanced Placement exams in 2012, indicating readiness for college, according to a report released Wednesday.

The College Board's 9th Annual Report to the Nation showed that 37.4 percent of high school graduates in the state took an AP exam in high school, compared to 29.3 percent in 2007 and 24.1 percent in 2002. Nearly 25 percent of California high school graduates received a passing score of 3 or more, earning the state a rank of 8th in the country for passage rates.

The College Board recognized 539 "AP Districts of the Year" that increased access to AP course work while also increasing the percentage of students passing AP exams, including Fremont Unified, Milpitas Unified, Palo Alto Unified, Pittsburg Unified, Pleasanton Unified, San Ramon Valley Unified and the Diocese of San Jose.