18 Connecticut School Districts Named to Advanced Placement Honor Roll

Eighteen Connecticut school districts have been named to The College Board’s 4th Annual AP District Honor Roll — a list of 477 districts across the U.S. and Canada being honored for increasing access to AP (Advanced Placement) course work while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams.

Reaching these goals indicates that these districtsAP district are successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are likely to benefit from rigorous AP course work, according to The College Board.

The Connecticut school districts include public schools in Berlin, Brookfield, Cheshire, Clinton, East Hampton, Ellington, Enfield, Fairfield, Greenwich, Killingly, Monroe, Newtown, Southington and Wallingford, as well as Regional School Districts 8 (Hebron, Andover, Marlborough), 14 and 18 and the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Most of the districts had received similar recognition in previous years; new to the list are Wallingford, Regional Districts 14 (Woodbury and Bethlehem) and 18 (Lyme and East Lyme), Killingly, Greenwich, Clinton, Fairfield and Enfield and the Diocese of Bridgeport. A year ago, there were 26 Connecticut school districts recognized on the AP District Honor Roll.

 AP is a rigorous academic program that offers more than 30 courses in a wide range of subjects and college-level assessments developed and scored by college and university faculty members and experienced AP teachers. According to the College Board, a score of 3 or higher on an AP exam represents the score point that is predictive of college success and college graduation. The AP courses offered various by school dstudents hsistrict, but often include biology, chemistry, physics, Spanish, U.S. history, English literature, and calculus.

Helping more students learn at a higher level and earn higher AP scores is an objective of all members of the AP community, from AP teachers to district and school administrators to college professors, officials at The College Board point out. They noted that many districts are experimenting with a variety of initiatives and strategies to determine how to simultaneously expand access and improve student performance.

Inclusion on the 4th Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on the examination of three years of AP data, from 2011 to 2013, for the following criteria.

  • Increased participation/access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, at least 6 percent in medium districts, and at least 11 percent in small districts;
  • Increased or maintained the percentage of exams taken by African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native students, and;
  • Improved performance levels when comparing the percentage of students in 2013 scoring a 3 or higher to those in 2011, unless the district has already attained a performance level at which more than 70 percent of its AP students are scoring a 3 or higher.

In 2013, more than 3,300 colleges and universities around the world received AP scores for college credit, advanced placement and/or consideration in the admission process, with many colleges and universities in the United States offering credit in one or more subjects for qualifying AP scores.

Regional School District 14’s Superintendent, Jody Ian Goeler said, “It is wonderful to see so many of our High School students challenging themselves to take and succeed in our most rigorous courses. It is a strong indication our Board of Education’s advocacy for these programs is well placed and providing excellent opportunities and results for our students.”

Greenwich High School Principal Chris Winters recently commented that “Our participation in AP  classes is at a 10-year high, and the average score has remained unchanged and at very high levels. For the first time, over 50 percent of Greenwich High School have passed at least one AP exam during their four years.”

Nationwide data from 2013 show that among African American, Hispanic, and Native American students with a high degree of readiness for AP, only about half of students are participating. These 477 districts, The College Board indicated, are committed to expanding the availability of AP courses among prepared and motivated students of all backgrounds.

CT Ranked #4 as More Students Succeed on AP Exams; Gap Widens for Latino, Black Students

The College Board, in its annual report on the state of the Advanced Placement program – known to high school students as AP classes – determined that mean scores and overall participation in the AP exam both grew last year, but inequities in the availability of the exams and programs persists across socioeconomic and racial backgrounds. Connecticut ranked #6 nationally in the percentage of 2012 public high school graduates succeeding on AP exams, but disparities continued in Connecticut and nationwide in the number of minority students taking and succeeding in AP classes.  The state ranked #4 in the nation for the largest change in the overall percentage of students scoring well on the AP Exam, from 15.5 percent in 2002 to 26.9 percent in 2012, a jump of 15.5 percent.

Data indicate that in Connecticut, however, the gap widened from 2011 to 2012 in the percentage of African-American students and Latino students in the graduating class who took AP classes.  Ten states eliminated the gap for Latino students; three states did so for African-American students.

The publication Inside Higher Ed noted that the report designated “promoting equity” as a major goal for the AP program in the coming years, and although lack of equal access and opportunity remains an issue, the findings rAP-Classes-and-Ivy-League-Admissioneported several positive signs over the past year in this regard.  The report states that in 2012, disparities in participation and success shrank in 30 states for African-American students and in 17 states for Latino students.

Among the class of 2012, more than 300,000 students identified as having a high likelihood of success in AP did not take any recommended AP Exam. To succeed on an AP exam, students need to score a 3 or higher on a 5-point scale. Many colleges and universities offer college credit for passing scores. AP courses are offered in a variety of subjects, including math, science, foreign language, English and history.

According to the report, nationwide the number of high school graduates taking the AP exam in 2012 was 954,070, or 32.4 percent, up from 30.2 percent in 2011, and 18 percent a decade earlier, in 2002. Hundreds of thousands of academically prepared students with the potential to succeed in AP — including a disproportionately large percentage of underserved minority students — are graduating from high school without having participated in AP classes.

AP participation also increased among low-income graduates, who accounted for 26.6 percent of students who took at least one AP examination. This is an increase from 11.5 percent in 2003.

ctlatinonews.com cited ABC News Univision in reporting that more Latinos are taking the test than in previous years, according to the report, and more of them are succeeding. But the data revealed significant inequities in AP participation along racial/ethnic lines, with underserved minority students who demonstrated readiness for AP much less likely than their similarly prepared white and Asian/Asian American/Pacific Islander peers to experience AP course work.

Writing in the Miami Herald, Trevor Packer, Vice President of the Advanced Placement Program at The College Board, pointed out that “Under-represented minority students who show readiness to succeed in AP are less likely to actually take AP than their white and Asian peers. In AP math course work, for example, among every 10 students who are ready for an AP math course, 60 percen435876254t of Asian students, 40 percent of white students, 30 percent of Latino and African-American students, respectively, and 20 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native students participate in the program.”

Why are many minority students not enrolled in advanced placement classes? One reason cited in the report is a lack of access. Many attend school where the coursework is simply not available. The report offers suggestions for improving access to AP courses, while noting that schools can run into obstacles such as a lack of funding or properly trained teachers.  Schools need to do a better job of notifying students that they are eligible for the courses, the report says. Once students are enrolled, the report says that schools should provide support, in the form of peer-to-peer mentoring, counseling and tutoring.

Top 10 States in Percentage of 2012 Public High School Graduates Succeeding on AP Exams

  1. Maryland (29.6%)
  2. New York (28.0%)
  3. Massachusetts (27.9%)
  4. Florida (27.3%)
  5. Virginia (27.2%)
  6. Connecticut (26.9%)
  7. Maine (24.8%)
  8. California (24.7%)
  9. Colorado (24.2%)
  10. Vermont (22.8%)