The Long Beach Unified School District is among 539 school districts in the United States and Canada recognized this week by the College Board with a spot on the Annual AP Honor Roll.
The honor recognizes efforts to open Advanced Placement college preparatory classrooms to a significantly broader pool of students while maintaining or improving the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher (out of 5).
“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,” said College Board President David Coleman.
Improvement in AP results takes sustained effort, so the College Board examined AP data for students who took the exams in May of 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Honor roll criteria include at least a 4 percent increase in AP participation in large districts, 6 percent in medium districts and 11 percent in small districts. In addition, the College Board monitors AP participation by students of color.
To be honored, a school district’s performance levels also must be maintained or improved when comparing the percentage of exams in 2012 with a score of 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 score a 3 or higher.
As part of its Academic and Career Success Initiative, LBUSD has made a concerted effort in recent years to boost participation in AP courses. Last year, 5,062 students took one or more AP courses here, nearly double the number in 2003. Over the same period, students of all ethnicities saw significant increases in AP course enrollment. Meanwhile pass rates on AP exams have now increased to 55 percent, up 5 percent over the prior year.
“There has been a great victory among educators who have believed that a more diverse population could indeed succeed in AP courses,” said Trevor Packer, the College Board’s senior vice president of the Advanced Placement Program. “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.”
Parents especially appreciate AP courses because their children can earn college credit while still in high school, saving thousands of dollars in tuition. Many LBUSD students earn an entire year of college credit before leaving high school.