Upper St. Clair School District Makes AP Honor Roll
There are 367 public school districts across the nation that are honored.
Upper St. Clair School District is one of fewer than 400 public school districts in the nation being honored by the College Board with a place on the second annual AP Honor Roll, for simultaneously increasing access to Advanced Placement coursework while maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP exams.
Achieving both of these goals is the ideal scenario for a district’s Advanced Placement program, because it indicates that the district is successfully identifying motivated, academically-prepared students who are likely to benefit most from AP coursework.
Since 2009, Upper St. Clair High School increased the number of students participating in AP from 209 students to 251 students while increasing the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher from 93% in 2009 to 94% in 2011. The majority of U.S. colleges and universities grant college credit or advanced placement for a score of 3 or above on AP exams.
“Our students and staff are to be commended for once again being recognized for their success on the AP Honor Roll,” Superintendent Patrick O’Toole said in a statement. “Success in AP courses requires students to be thoughtful and motivated; these are the same requirements of the 21st century workplace."
The Second Annual AP Honor Roll is made up of only those public school districts that are simultaneously expanding opportunity and improving performance. The list includes 367 school districts across 43 states and Canada. Pennsylvania led all states with 34 public school districts named to the Second Annual AP Honor Roll, followed by Massachusetts and New York, both with 30.
“Participation in college-level AP courses can level the playing field for underserved students, give them the confidence needed to succeed in college, and raise standards and performance in key subjects like science and math,” said College Board President Gaston Caperton. “The AP Honor Roll districts are defying expectations by expanding access while enabling their students to maintain or improve their AP Exam scores.”
Many U.S. school districts have focused on expanding access to AP courses as part of a strategy to improve college readiness. While these efforts have resulted in more students earning scores of 3 or better—these efforts also have resulted in more students earning scores of 1 or 2. Accordingly, there has been a slight decline since 2001 in the percentage of AP students scoring a 3 or better, a decline that can be expected in any program attracting a broader cross-section of students.
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. Many are experimenting with a variety of initiatives and strategies to determine how to expand access and improve student performance simultaneously.
“This school district has achieved something very remarkable. It managed to open the doors of its AP classrooms to many more students, while also increasing the percentage of students earning high enough AP Exam grades to stand out in the competitive college admission process and qualify for college credit and placement,” said Trevor Packer, the College Board’s senior vice president of Advanced Placement and college readiness.
Inclusion on the Second Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on the following criteria:
- Examination of three years of AP data, from 2009 to 2011;
- Increase in participation in/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;
- A steady or increasing percentage of exams taken by African American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaska Native students; and
- Performance levels maintained or improved when comparing the percentage of students in 2011 scoring a 3 or higher to those in 2009, or the school has already attained a performance level in which more than 70 percent of the AP students are scoring a 3 or higher. School districts in which low-income and/or underrepresented minority students (African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native) comprise 30 percent or more of the AP student population have been highlighted on the Achievement List to recognize significant improvements in equity and quality among the nation’s historically underserved student populations.