More District 202 students took Advanced Placement (AP) courses and the corresponding AP exams last year than ever, while also posting the highest scores on those exams in district history.
The AP program lets motivated and academically prepared high school students take challenging, college-level courses and get college credit, advanced placement or both for successful performance on the AP Exams.
This new data follow news last month that 163 District 202 students were named AP Scholars this year -- the most ever for District 202, and up 22 percent over last year.
“This news continues to validate our work over the last several years to increase the rigor of our curriculum, access to those more difficult classes and the supports needed so that more students can be challenged and succeed at a higher level,” said District 202 Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Glenn Wood. “
“District 202’s success in the AP program should be a point of significant pride for everyone involved, most especially our students and their teachers,” Wood said.
In 2006, District 202 offered only four AP courses. This year District 202 offers 24 AP courses.
About 30 fewer students took AP courses last school year – 1,692 compared to 1,722 the year before. However, those students took 29 more AP courses than the previous year – 2,780 versus 2,751.
More important, 54 percent of students who took an AP class last year also took the corresponding AP exam, up from 51 percent the year before, and 43 percent three years ago. What’s more, the number of AP exams taken also increased by about 7.5 percent, up to 1,507 from 1,401.
These statistics are important, Wood said, because students aren’t required to take the AP exam.
“Taking the test helps the student because they may earn college credit for their subject area, and it also helps us gauge whether we are teaching the AP courses effectively,” he said.
Last year’s crop of AP students earned a 3.1 average score (out of a possible 5) on their AP exams. That’s the highest score in the eight school years that District 202 has tracked its AP achievement. Last year, students earned a 2.8 average AP score.
Sixty-seven percent of last year’s AP students scored a 3, 4 or 5 on their AP exams, compared to 59 percent the year before.
Wood credited increased number of students taking AP exams – and the higher overall exam scores – to the decision two years ago to require all students taking AP courses to also take a practice AP exam.
“We think taking the practice exams may have convinced some students that they could indeed do well on the real exams,” Wood said.