In the spotlight last week, Aberdeen and Havre de Grace high schools were recognized for outstanding student achievement in a national program to improve results on Advanced Placement Exams in math, science and English. Here’s a look at the 2013 Advanced Placement results for all subjects in each of the ten Harford County public high schools. But first, a brief review.
About Advanced Placement (AP)
The College Board develops Advanced Placement exams and offers them nationwide each May in over 30 subjects including English, calculus, history, foreign languages, sciences and the arts. Because AP exams test high school students on a college level, passing an exam is considered an indicator of college readiness. Many colleges also offer credit for passing scores.
In preparation for AP exams, specially qualified teachers use course content approved by the College Board to teach AP courses in high school. Students can take AP courses and exams in more than one subject. However, students enrolled in an AP course are not obligated to take the corresponding exam.
2013 AP Results in HCPS: Participation Soars; Passing Rate Flat
As previously reported by HCPS, total enrollment in AP courses and AP exam participation soared in 2013, jumping by 28% and 25%, respectively, compared with 2012. The results continue a significant upward trend in AP participation in recent years.
The average passing rate on the exams dipped in 2013 to 63% from 64% in 2012.
AP Subject Offerings in HCPS
The number of AP subjects offered in a school depends in part on student interest and teacher availability. A total of 26 AP subjects were offered among the ten county high schools in the 2012-13 school year, down one subject from the previous year.
C. Milton Wright High School offered the greatest number of AP subjects (24) followed by Aberdeen (22) and Bel Air (20).
The fewest were offered at Edgewood (14) and Havre de Grace (14), Joppatowne (12), and Harford Technical High School (6).
Test Me, Test Me Not
Students who do not expect to earn a passing score are likely to opt out, but there are other reasons why students may take an AP course and not the exam. For example, not all colleges grant credit for passing scores, and some students take AP classes for the challenge alone, or to boost their high school grade point average (grades earned in AP classes have a higher point value than non-AP grades). Lastly, because the College Board charges a fee of $89 per exam, cost can be a barrier, although waivers are available for students living in poverty.
Overall in HCPS, approximately 66% of those who enrolled in AP courses took the corresponding AP exam in 2013, up from 64% in 2012.
AP students at Harford Technical and Aberdeen high schools took the exams most often, opting to take the exams 83% and 82% of the time, respectively.
AP students took the exams least often at Fallston (54%) and Patterson Mill (49%).
Among the most popular* AP courses system wide, the following table displays the percentage of students enrolled in each subject who opted to take the corresponding AP exam, and the passing rate among test takers.
Source: HCPS data, compiled by The Dagger.
* Ranked by enrollment. Please note that students may take more than one AP course—HCPS counts each course as a separate enrollment.
2013 AP Results by High School
New in 2013, students at Aberdeen and Havre de Grace high schools were paid $100 for each passing exam in math, science and English, through their schools’ participation in a program under the National Math and Science Initiative. The program targets schools serving military families, and also includes training and incentives for teachers, plus other supports.
Overall in 2013, the highest average passing rates in HCPS were at C. Milton Wright (77%) and Aberdeen (68%) high schools. The lowest were at Edgewood (40%) and Joppatowne (30%).
Below are the AP results by subject at each Harford County high school, plus the alternative education program at the Center for Educational Opportunity (CEO) in Aberdeen. The data was provided to The Dagger by HCPS.
Please note: To protect student privacy, whenever AP courses or exams were taken by fewer than five students, exact figures were not provided by HCPS. Instead, the data boxes on the chart below were colored yellow. Blank (white) boxes indicate where AP subjects were not offered in certain schools. Please remember that students may take more than one AP class; HCPS counts each class as a separate enrollment.