10/26/11 More local students taking AP courses

More local students taking AP courses
By Mike Wilder The Times-News 10/26/11     
Reprinted with permission.

   More students in the Alamance-Burlington School System are taking Advanced Placement courses — a trend Superintendent Lillie Cox and the Alamance-Burlington Board of Education want to continue.

   The advanced-level courses are taught either by high school teachers or offered online. Students who score at least a 3 on a 5-point scale on an exam given after the course can receive college credit, depending on policies at the college or university they attend.

   Dain Butler, the system’s director of school improvement and accountability, shared information during a Monday night school board meeting about Advanced Placement courses during 2010-11. The courses are commonly referred to as AP courses.

   In 2010-11, students took 1,471 AP courses, up from 1,395 in 2009-10. That number includes students taking more than one course, meaning that the number of students taking the courses isn’t as high as the number of courses taken.

   The number of students taking at least one AP course also went up in 2010-11 — to 783, up from 671 in 2009-10.

   More students are taking the exam that can lead to college credit. In 2010-11, students took 890 exams, compared to 748 in 2009-10. That means students took the exam 59 percent of the time when taking the courses, up from 54 percent in 2009-10.

   Forty percent of AP exams taken in 2010-11 resulted in a score of 3 or higher, up from 32 percent in 2009-10.

   Among the school system’s six traditional high schools:   

  • At Cummings High School, students took 48 AP courses, up from six in 2009-10. Those students took 31 exams, with 16 scores of 3 or higher.   
  • At Eastern Alamance High School, students took 196 AP courses, up from 140 in 2009-10. Those students took 139 exams, with 110 scores of 3 or higher.   
  • At Graham High School, students took 111 AP courses, down from 123 in 2009-10. Those students took 38 exams, with 13 scores of 3 or higher.   
  • At Southern Alamance High School, students took 333 AP courses, up from 309 in 2009-10. Those students took 172 exams, with 95 scores of 3 or higher.   
  • At Western Alamance High School, students took 227 AP courses, down from 253 in 2009-10. Those students took 190 exams, with 123 scores of 3 or higher.   
  • At Williams High School, students took 556 AP courses, down from 564 in 2009-10. Those students took 319 exams , with 181 scores of 3 or higher.

   Butler called the increase in the number of students taking and scoring well on the exams “promising news.” Cox said part of the strategy for increasing the number of students taking the courses is to make more of them available in the system’s high schools, so that higher enrollment should naturally follow.