This week The College Board announced its 8th Annual AP District Honor Roll. The award recognizes school districts in the U.S. and Canada for “increasing access to AP for underrepresented students while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher.”
Learn more about the criteria for inclusion on the AP Honor Roll here.
First time honors – The Seattle Times’ education reporter Claudia Rowe writes this is the first time the Walla Walla school district has earned a spot on on the honor roll. The majority of students there are from low income families and a plurality are Latino. From Walla Walla High School principal Ron Higgins: “About six years ago was the epiphany when we said, ‘Let’s bring down the walls and remove the barriers to AP for kids you might not consider as advanced, just because their binders weren’t completely organized or whatever.’ ” Read more about Walla Walla’s commitment to enrolling minority students in AP classes here.
Repeat winners – Everett, Lake Washington and Shoreline all were recognized by The College Board for achieving honor roll status over multiple years.
What are AP exams and why do they matter? Developed and administered by The College Board, AP classes and their end-of-course tests are taken by well over two million high school students each year, covering over 30 different subject areas. Some universities give college credit to incoming freshmen for earning certain scores on the test.
Most importantly, AP classes remain one of the best ways to prepare for college. According to a leading researcher “AP courses have become the primary avenue for delivering advanced coursework in public high schools.” And this is important because research shows our high schools aren’t getting enough of our kids ready for college.
In school districts like Bellevue, it’s common to see practically every inch of available non-classroom space (e.g., gyms, libraries) devoted to students taking AP (or International Baccalaureate) tests. Here’s how the Bellevue School District describes the value of AP courses on its website:
- High school graduates who do not take any AP courses graduate from college at a rate of only 33% by age 30.
- Students who take only one AP course nearly double the likelihood of college graduation to 59%.
- Students who take two or more AP courses raise the likelihood to 76%.
Learn more – You can find plenty of useful information about AP courses from The College Board at their website here. And you can learn more about your district’s participation and exam scores at OSPI’s website AP page here.