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December 19, 2014 Published in Schools, Top Stories

Alexandria City Public Schools Sees Historic Rise In AP Exam Results, Participation

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Results presented to the Alexandria City School Board today reveal that in the 2014-15 school year, the greatest number of Advanced Placement (AP) exams were taken by the greatest number of students ever recorded in the history of T.C. Williams High School.

As a result of this huge achievement, Alexandria City Public Schools, has been placed on the College Board's Fifth Annual AP District Honor Roll for Significant Gains in Student Access and Success. ACPS is only one of six school divisions in Virginia to earn this honor.

"This is exactly what we have been working toward. We want to see more students have access to AP exams and more students given the tools to succeed in them. This is a huge accolade and shows we are moving in the right direction. We are proud of our students and their achievements," said Superintendent Alvin L. Crawley.

Forty percent of all students enrolled in grades 10 through 12 at T.C. Williams took at least one AP test in 2014. Sixty-two percent of all tests taken received qualifying scores of three, four or five. AP exams are grade one through five.

The data show a significant increase in both the number of test takers and their achievement levels in the last 10 years. In 2005, only 20 percent of T.C. Williams graduating seniors achieved qualifying grades in an AP exam during their high school careers. By 2014, that statistic had more than doubled, with 43 percent of the graduating class earning qualifying scores prior to graduating.

Past 10 Years in AP

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Along with greater participation, ACPS students have continued to excel at the highest levels with 13 percent of AP tests earning the highest AP grade of 5 in 2014. More than 12 percent of tenth-grade students took AP exams in 2014. That number rose to 39 percent of students in grade 11 and 49 percent of students in grade 12.

AP Participation & Performance by Grade

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Tests taken in 2014 saw an increase in participation by all students across the board. However, ACPS is aware that underrepresentation among certain student subgroups within the AP population leaves much work to be done. Compared with T.C. Williams' overall ethnic distribution (78 percent minority), a disproportionally low number of AP exams were taken by minority students (53 percent).

Longitudinal View of % AP Exams Score 3+ by Subgroup

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The majority of AP exams (64 percent) were taken in six subjects. These include U.S. Government and Politics, World History, U.S. History, English Language, English Literature, and Psychology.

All 19 students who took AP French achieved qualifying scores of 3 or above. In Microeconomics, 96 percent of students achieved these scores. In Macroeconomics and Comparative Government and Politics, 92 percent of students scored 3 or above, while in Spanish and German, the number was 91 percent.

ACPS is one of 547 school districts in the United States and Canada to be honored by the College Board in November for its success.

To be included on the College Board's AP Honor Roll, the division must successfully identify motivated, academically prepared students who are ready for the opportunity of AP. Since 2012, ACPS has increased the number of students participating in AP while improving the number of students earning AP exam scores of 3 or higher.

"The devoted teachers and administrators in this school division are delivering an undeniable benefit to their students: opportunity. When coupled with a student's hard work, such opportunities can have myriad outcomes, whether building confidence, learning to craft effective arguments, earning credit for college or persisting to graduate from college on time. We applaud your conviction that a more diverse population of students is ready for the sort of rigor that will prepare them for success in college," said Trevor Packer, the College Board's senior vice president of AP and Instruction.

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