Success on Advanced Placement tests plays key role in rankings
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About one-third of students at North take A.P. courses. This year, 91 of them were named A.P. Scholars, which means they scored at least a 3 out of 5, the A.P. test’s highest score, on a minimum of three tests.
The district helps ensures that students can take these tests. The cost to take an exam is $86, which is typically paid by a student. But if cost is a factor, the district has federal funds available to help out. “We can’t let economics be a barrier,” said Superintendent Dr. Bill Heidenreich. “You could have kids taking four or five of these exams, and it gets expensive.”
Their success in college-level courses is particularly impressive, administrators added, because students in the Northeast have one fewer month to prepare for their tests than those in other areas of the country. The tests are given in May, which is the end of the school year in many regions where classes begin in August.
“You really have to hit the ground running in September,” Odell said, “because the pace of the curriculum moves very, very fast and it’s a very challenging curriculum.”
The new Common Core Learning Standards, which have been implemented nationally, focus on college and career readiness. In the age of diminishing financial resources for schools, non-mandated programs like A.P. courses could be on the chopping block despite their value to students. Heidenreich said that the high-level courses will remain a priority in the district.