College Board recently released its latest AP District Honor Roll, which features 367 school districts across the country. These schools have shown improvements not only in enrollment in AP classes, but in the number of students who scored high enough on the exams to obtain college credit. The school districts on this list have shown a commitment to helping high-achieving students attain academic success and have broadened the options of these students in pursuing postsecondary education.
What is Advanced Placement?
According to the College Board website, the Advanced Placement program was designed to allow students to earn college credit while still in high school. The program currently boasts more than 30 college-level course options that include a cumulative exam at the end that enables students to receive college credit for material covered. The AP program also shows college admissions boards that students are able to handle the rigors of a postsecondary curriculum.
Advanced Placement courses are recognized by more than 3,800 colleges and universities worldwide. This ensures the students that participate in these courses in high school will have plenty of options available to them after graduation. The ability to earn college credit while in high school can present a significant cost savings on higher education and allow students to complete their degree programs at a much faster rate.
About the Advanced Placement Honor Roll
To qualify for the annual Advanced Placement Honor Roll compiled by College Board, school districts must meet the following criteria:
- Provide three years of AP data from 2009 to 2011, to qualify for 2011 Honor Roll
- Increase participation in AP courses by at least 4 percent in large districts, 6 percent in medium districts and 11 percent in small districts
- Show an increase in exam taking by minority students, including African-American, Hispanic and Native American students
- Show that the percentage of students who scored a 3 or higher on the AP exams remained the same or increased during that same time frame
- Show an attainment rating of 70 percent or higher for students scoring a 3 or higher on AP exams
This year, a large number of school districts made the grade, which is good news for students wishing to pursue a postsecondary education. This is particularly true for underserved students who can use AP courses to prove they are academically ready for the rigors of college.
“Participation in college-level AP courses can level the playing field for underserved students, give them the confidence they need to succeed in college, and raise standards and performance in key subjects like science and math,” Gaston Caperton, president of College Board stated in a press release on the website. “The AP Honor Roll Districts are defying expectations by expanding access while enabling their students to maintain or improve their AP exam scores.”
School Districts that Made the Grade
Reading Public School District
Pennsylvania had the largest representation of school districts on this recent AP Honor Roll, and Reading was one of the state districts proud to make the grade. According to the Reading Patch, the school district increased the number of students taking AP exams from 92 in 2009, to 138 this year. The AP test scores also improved, with the percentage of students earning a 3 or higher on the test increasing from 89 to 91 percent.
“We are very proud of this recognition,” John Doherty, superintendent of Reading, told the Patch. “This honor is due to the hard work of our high school staff to increase the availability of Advanced Placement courses to our students.”
East Haven School District
Connecticut also had reason to be proud with this latest AP Honor Roll, thanks to recipient East Haven School District. According to the East Haven Patch, this school district increased the number of students taking AP exams from 33 to 60, while the number of students earning a 3 or higher on the tests went from 70 percent to 72 percent.
South Washington County School District
In Minnesota, eight school districts represented the state on the recent Honor Roll, including South Washington County. According to KSPT-TV, the students taking AP exams in this district increased from 579 to 1,292. The percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher on the exams also improved – from 59 percent to 66 percent.
“This recognition for our district is evidence of intentional efforts to increase student achievement through rigor and added opportunity,” Mark T. Porter, superintendent of the school district, told KSPT. “We will continue to encourage students to participate in such opportunities to further their individual achievement and resulting preparedness for the future.”
Three North Shore Districts
In the North Shore area of Massachusetts, three school districts made it to this year’s AP Honor Role. Marblehead, Beverly and Masconomet districts all showed increases in the number of students taking AP exams, while maintaining high achievement percentages on those exams, according to the Salem News. The districts are among 30 of the districts statewide that made the grade on the College Board list this year.
Advanced Placement courses and exams offer a myriad of benefits to high-achieving high school students who are up to the rigors of a college curriculum early in their academic careers. With so many school districts nationwide making the College Board AP Honor Roll this year, students across the country are enjoying even more opportunities for postsecondary education even before high school graduation.