T.C. Williams High School (Photo: Katie Smythe)

Alexandria City Public Schools and Chesterfield County Public Schools earned spots on the 9th annual AP District Honor Roll, which was announced yesterday by the College Board, the nonprofit organization that administers the Advanced Placement program.

For ACPS, T.C. Williams High School made the AP Honor Roll for expanding enrollment opportunities for all students while simultaneously achieving significant gains in AP test scores. This increase in access was seen across all students, including those who historically have not enrolled in AP-level courses.

“This is the perfect example of how T.C. Williams is providing students with access to opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in the future,” said T.C. Williams Principal Peter Balas. “We are proud to lead the way when it comes to increasing access to higher level classes for all students and of the high level of achievement demonstrated by our students.”

The honor roll recognizes school districts for expanding participation in AP courses – especially among black, Hispanic and other minority students – while maintaining or increasing the number of students earning scores of three or higher on AP tests. AP scores of three or higher are generally accepted as representing college-level academic achievement.

“Earning a place on the AP District Honor Roll reflects a school division’s commitment to equity and to encouraging all students to reach higher,” Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said. “I congratulate the leaders and educators of Alexandria and Chesterfield County for reaching out and identifying students with the potential for success in Advanced Placement courses, and for providing the opportunities and supports new AP students need to succeed.”

T.C. Williams class of 2018 saw an all-time high in the number of Advanced Placement tests scores in the top grades in 2017-18. A record 22 percent of tests scored a grade five, the top level possible in AP tests. In addition, a record 72 percent of tests in 2018 achieved a grade three, four or five – the scores required by many colleges and universities to grant credit or for placement.

Inclusion on honor roll is based on AP data from the 2015-2016, 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years. For placement on the honor roll, school districts must:

  • Increase participation in AP courses by at least four percent in large districts, at least six percent in medium-sized districts and at least 11 percent in small districts;
  • Increase or maintain the percentage of exams taken by black, Hispanic and other historically under-represented minority students; and
  • Increase or maintain the percentage of students scoring a three or higher on at least one AP exam, unless 70 percent of the district’s AP students are already earning at least one qualifying score.

Since 2015-2016, the number of Alexandria students taking at least one AP test has increased by 9 percent; the number of Chesterfield County students taking at least one examination is up by 8 percent.

“Success in Advanced Placement is a combination of students’ own motivation and the opportunities educators provide for them,” said Trevor Packer, senior vice president of AP and Instruction at the College Board. “I’m inspired by the teachers and administrators in these Virginia districts who have worked to clear a path for more students of all backgrounds to earn college credit during high school.”

This is the second year each division has achieved a spot on the honor roll. Alexandria previously made the College Board list in 2014; Chesterfield County earned a place on the 2012 honor roll.

In all, 373 school districts in the U.S. and Canada were named to the 9th Annual AP District Honor Roll.