Five North Carolina school districts have earned recognition by the College Board for boosting both participation and performance on Advanced Placement exams during the last three years.
The five districts are among 433 nationwide named by the College Board to its 7th Annual AP District Honor Roll for simultaneously increasing access to Advanced Placement courses for a greater diversity of students while also increasing or at least maintaining the passing rate (score of 3 or higher) on AP exams, including among minorities underrepresented in higher education. Because improvement in AP results typically takes sustained efforts, the District Honor Roll is based on three years of AP data.
Honor roll districts defy the expectation that expanding access automatically results in a decline in the percentage of exams earning scores of 3 or better. North Carolina’s AP honor roll districts for 2016 are:
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
- Clinton City Schools
- Columbus County Schools
- Duplin County Schools
- Wilson County Schools
Overall, the state’s participation and performance continue to increase on Advanced Placement exams, which can help students earn transferrable college credit and save on college costs. In addition, research has found that students who take AP courses are more likely to persist in college and graduate on time.
State education leaders and lawmakers in recent years have made a priority of broadening access to college-level courses for qualified students. During the last two years, lawmakers provided funding to pay the cost of AP exams for all students and appropriated funding for professional development of teachers through the NC AP Partnership.
North Carolina’s five honor-roll districts saw annual increases in AP participation from 2014 to 2016 ranging from 6 percent to 37 percent. Large districts – those with 50,000 students or more – must have seen an annual increase in participation of at least 4 percent to qualify; medium districts, or those between 8,000 and 50,000 students, need to have increased participation by at least 6 percent; and small districts with fewer than 8,000 students must show annual increases of at least 11 percent.
In terms of performance, increases in percentages of students earning a score of 3 or better ranged from 2 percent to 63 percent among the five districts. Among all five, 823 more students earned a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam.
Statewide, the percentage of graduates earning a score of 3 or higher has increased 4.5 percent since 2006. North Carolina’s class of 2016 ranked 19th in the nation for AP performance, with 20.6 percent of graduates earning a 3 or better on at least one of the exams.
About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.