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December 5, 2012

RCS makes College Board’s AP Honor Roll once again

By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

ROCHESTER — Rochester Community Schools is one of 539 public school districts in the nation, and one of 39 in the state, named to the College Board’s third annual AP Honor Roll.

The honor roll recognizes school districts for increasing access to Advanced Placement coursework, while maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP exams.

“We applaud the extraordinary efforts of the devoted teachers and administrators in these 539 districts, who are fostering rigorous work worth doing. These educators have not only expanded student access to AP course work, but they have enabled more of their students to achieve on a college level — which is helping to create a strong college-going culture,” College Board President David Coleman said in a statement.

The state of Michigan had the second largest number of AP Honor Roll districts, with 39. Massachusetts had the highest number, with 46.

This is the second year RCS has made the list.

“Our students’ participation in AP course work is one example of the variety of opportunities our students have to challenge themselves academically. We are extremely pleased to have received this recognition from the AP program,” RCS Community Relations Manager Debbi Hartman said in an email.

RCS Director of Grants and Assessment Irene Larson said the district has made a conscious effort to increase the number of AP courses available to students and to encourage more students to enroll in AP courses. 

“As a result, the percent of students enrolled in one or more AP course has increased from 28 percent in 2009 to 38 percent in 2011. Not all students who take an AP course take the AP exam, as this is not a course requirement and is an additional cost to parents,” Larson said in an email.

Since 2009, Larson said RCS has increased the number of students participating in AP classes from 678 to 1,168, while increasing the percentage of students earning AP exam scores of 3 or higher from 74 percent to 78 percent. The majority of U.S. colleges and universities grant college credit or advanced placement for a score of 3 or above on AP exams.

Inclusion on the third annual AP Honor Roll is based on a variety of factors, including examination of three years of AP data, from 2010 to 2012; increase in participation in and access to AP classes 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 2012 scoring a 3 or higher to those in 2010; 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.

Trevor Packer, the College Board’s senior vice president of the Advanced Placement Program, said there has been “a great victory” among educators who have believed that a more diverse population could indeed succeed in AP courses.

“In 2012, AP scores were higher than they’d been since 2004, when one million fewer students were being given access. These outcomes are a powerful testament to educators’ belief that many more students were indeed ready and waiting for the sort of rigor that would prepare them for what they would encounter in college,” he said in a statement.

To view the complete second annual AP Honor Roll list, visit www.collegeboard.org.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at malmond@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1060.