AP Exam Participation Up From Last Year

African American Participation at Record High

LEONARDTOWN, Md. (Oct. 1, 2008)—St. Mary's County Public Schools' (SMCPS) administered 1,546 Advanced Placement (AP) exams in May 2008. This is an increase from last year's administration. Chopticon High School administered 314 exams; Great Mills High School administered 453 exams; and Leonardtown High School administered 779 exams. Countywide, 902 students participated in the AP exam program.

More SMCPS students took an AP exam compared to last year. As a result of school system efforts to encourage more minority participation in the AP program, the number of African Americans participating in the program is at an all time high with 79 students participating.

Students who receive a score of 3 or higher on these rigorous exams can receive college credit for the AP course they complete. For all exams given, 692 exams or 44.8 percent achieved a score of 3 or higher. At Chopticon High School, 46.5 percent of the exams obtained a score of 3 or higher; at Great Mills High School, 35.1 percent obtained a 3 or higher. Leonardtown High School led all county high schools with 49.8 percent scoring a 3 or higher.

Both Chopticon and Great Mills posted increases in the percentage of students who obtained a 3 or higher on the AP exams and Great Mills had 31 more students participate in the AP exams this past school year. Leonardtown had 80 tests score a 5 which is the most they have ever had with this perfect score.

"It is truly encouraging to see the number of high school students in our school system participating in AP courses, taking the corresponding tests, and achieving passing scores" said Dr. Michael J. Martirano, superintendent of schools. "This is a testament to the dedication of the teachers who have become experts in their content area and the commitment of the students who take these rigorous courses."

AP courses allow high school students to take courses that are challenging, rigorous, and in-depth. Based on their performance on the AP exam, students can earn college credit while in high school. As a result, many students who are enrolled in college are positioned to graduate early, pursue a double major, or study abroad because of their high school enrollment in AP courses.

SMCPS continues to make efforts to ensure that more students have access to rigorous coursework. The integration of programs such as AP Potential allows St. Mary's County Public Schools to analyze student achievement data. Through PSAT/NMSQT results, we are able to make placement decisions with our students.

Source: St. Mary's County Public Schools

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