NEW ORLEANS — More than 6,500 Louisiana high school students scored well enough on Advanced Placement tests this year to earn college course credit, the state Department of Education said Thursday.

The number was a nearly 10 percent increase over last year. It’s a 137 percent increase from 2012, when 2,747 students earned college credit.

State Superintendent of Education John White said during a telephone news conference that students who take advantage of the credits earned this year can save a combined $7 million in college costs.

Louisiana education officials have been pushing to increase participation in Advanced Placement testing for five years. In 2012, a total of 6,639 students took an AP test, according to the department. This year’s total was 19,193.

White touted strong improvements in black students’ test scores, particularly in East Baton Rouge Parish. But he added the state has more work to do because there remain 23 school districts where no African-American student took an Advanced Placement test.

The number of black students taking an Advanced Placement test grew from 1,516 five years ago to 5,143 this year. In 2012, the number of black students earning college credit on the tests was 263; that number was up to 781 this year.

East Baton Rouge Parish saw significant improvements among black students, with 627 students scoring well enough to earn college credit this year, compared to 203 in 2012.