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King George recognized on state’s Advanced Placement Honor Roll

Governor McAuliffe cites Virginia as 3rd in nation on AP tests
The King George school division was recognized by the College Board last week as being one of only six public school divisions in Virginia that made the College Board’s 2014 AP Honor Roll for raising achievement on Advanced Placement (AP) examinations while increasing access to the courses.

King George also has the distinction of being one of only three Virginia divisions to be noted by the College Board as having received this honor for multiple years.

The other two divisions cited were Manassas Park City Schools and Virginia Beach City Public Schools. The announcement was made by Governor Terry McAuliffe on Feb. 11.

In addition to King George and the two mentioned above, the other Virginia divisions rounding out the six on the state’s College Board’s AP honor roll are Falls Church City School District, Henrico County Schools and Montgomery County Public Schools. The College Board also recognized the Catholic Diocese of Richmond as an honor roll district.

BENSON COMMENTS
In regard to the achievement, Superintendent Rob Benson told The Journal, “We are very pleased to be recognized by the College Board so positively as far as the increased access to AP courses and our students’ achievement.”

He added, “The expansion of the King George campus of the Commonwealth Governor’s School, our continued participation in the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School and a focused effort to encourage all students to access rigorous academic opportunities to include AP courses are primary antecedents to the recognition.”

MCAULIFFE MAKES COMPARISONS
Gov. McAuliffe noted that Virginia can again boast the nation’s third-highest percentage of public high school seniors qualifying for college credit on AP examinations, according to the College Board’s 2014 AP Report to the Nation. Virginia students had ranked fifth in last year’s report despite an increase in AP achievement, after holding the number three spot for five consecutive years.

Commenting on the 2014 AP Report to the Nation, Gov. McAuliffe stated, “Growing and diversifying Virginia’s economy is my top priority, and that begins with a world-class education system. This report shows that Virginia is a national leader in preparing our students for college or to join the workforce in a high demand field.”

McAuliffe added, “I am proud of the progress Virginia schools, students and teachers have made expanding advanced placement and improving scores, but we’ve still got work to do to ensure that every child has access to a world class education in a Virginia public school.”

Virginia students may substitute AP examinations for end-of-course SOL tests in corresponding subject areas. Enrollment in AP courses is among the criteria for recognition under the Virginia Index of Performance awards program created by the Board of Education to encourage advanced learning and achievement.

Virginia also promotes AP participation through the Early College Scholars initiative and the Virtual Virginia online-learning program, and uses federal grant money to subsidize test fees for low-income students.

The most popular AP course among Virginia’s 2013 graduating seniors was US History, followed by English Language and Composition, US Government and Politics, English Literature and Composition, Psychology, World History, Calculus AB, Biology, Statistics and Environmental Science.

Overall, 34,901 of Virginia’s 2013 graduates took at least one AP examination during their high school careers. Of these students, 22,426 earned at least one score of three or higher.

Since 2003, there has been a 7.9 point increase in the percentage of U.S. public high school graduates scoring a three or higher on an AP Exam, with 17 states exceeding the national average for this percentage change.

EQUITY GAPS NARROWING
The 2014 AP Report to the Nation also cited Virginia’s progress in narrowing “equity gaps” for African-American and Latino students. An equity gap describes the difference between a subgroup’s participation or achievement in AP testing, and the percentage of overall enrollment represented by the subgroup.

The number of African-American seniors graduating from high school having taken at least one AP examination has more than doubled in ten years. In 2013, 4,753 African-American students participated in AP testing, compared with 1,682 in 2003. During the same period, the percentage of African-American graduates earning at least one qualifying AP score rose 2.5 points, to 7.7 percent in 2013, compared with 5.2 percent in 2003.

The number of Latino Virginia graduates who took at least one AP exam has more than tripled since 2003. In 2013, 2,867 of Virginia’s Latino graduates took at least one AP test, compared with 920 of Latino graduates in 2003. During the same period, the percentage of Latino graduates earning at least one score of three or higher rose 2.6 points, to 7.8 percent, in 2013, compared with 5.2 percent in 2003.

Phyllis Cook

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