District sees increase in high school students taking, passing AP courses
by Megan Thornton
mthornton@cherokeetribune.com
February 22, 2013 12:00 AM | 1501 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cherokee County School District saw an increase in high school students taking Advanced Placement courses in 2012 and a two-point increase in students passing the college-level exams.

According to a Wednesday release, the school district also continues to top state and national averages on its AP exam scores.

Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo said Wednesday’s announcements are further evidence of the dedication of CCSD students, teachers, parents and the entire community to ensure graduates begin their higher education path and careers with the best preparation possible.

“The knowledge gained through these courses puts our students at an academic advantage and saves them and their parents on tuition costs for college courses they’re allowed to exempt based on AP credits,” Petruzielo said. “Research also shows that no matter their scores on AP exams, students who participate in AP courses are more likely to earn higher scores on the SAT and ACT and complete their college education.”

CCSD’s 2012 test administration passage rate of 80 percent exceeds the state rate at 53 percent and the nation at 57 percent. The number is also an increase from the district’s 78 percent passage rate in 2011.

In total, 2,730 AP tests were administered to Cherokee County students in 2012, which is up from 2,273 in 2011.

The Georgia Department of Education also announced Wednesday all five CCSD high schools that offered ninth through 12th grades during the 2011-12 school year qualifed both as AP STEM and AP STEM Achievement Schools.

The designations mean all of the schools offer a variety of courses in STEM subjects and at least 40 percent of students taking AP tests at each school scored at least a three or higher on the tests, which are graded on a five-point scale. River Ridge will be eligible for these designations next year.

High school students who score a three or higher on the AP exam can earn college credit in high school and subsequently exempt those courses in college.

The AP program in Cherokee County has grown significantly since 1999, when 400 CCSD students took an AP test. In 2012, 2,730 district students took one or more AP tests offered in 25 subjects.

Of all six CCSD high schools, Woodstock and Etowah had the most students take AP exams, as 584 and 576 students respectively took an AP test. Sequoyah and Woodstock offer the most AP courses at 19 and 18 respectively.

River Ridge posted the lowest participation of district schools since it did not have a graduating class last year with 129 students taking AP exams in six AP classes.

School district officials said the results of these tests will be shared with all principals who are to review them with their data management team and AP teachers to determine areas of weakness and strategies for improvement, including the sharing of best practices among teachers and using primary sources from the College Board, the organization responsible for administering AP courses and exams as well as the SAT.

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