Increasingly strong achievement on Advanced Placement (AP) exams is earning Gwinnett County Public Schools students college credit and gaining recognition for Gwinnett schools.
Earlier this month, the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) announced that the state’s public-school Class of 2018 posted the 16th-highest AP pass rate in the nation on AP exams taken at the end of the 2017-18 school year, according to data released by the College Board. A glance at the data indicates that the strong performance of Gwinnett County’s students contributed to that success.
Statewide, 23.2% of public school students in the class of 2018 earned a 3 or higher (on a 5-point scale) on an AP exam. In Gwinnett, the percentage of students with scores of 3 or higher was 63.2%, an increase from 62.5% the previous year. Several Gwinnett high schools experienced double-digit gains, with results from Lanier, Mountain View, and Discovery increasing 13.9, 12.1, and 11.2 percentage points, respectively.
GCPS students in grades 9-12 have the opportunity to take college-level AP courses taught by specially trained high school teachers, then take an optional subject-specific AP exam in May. Many colleges either award college credit for passing the exams or allow a student to be exempt from certain courses. AP exams are scored by College Board, which administers the AP program as well as the SAT college-admissions test. (Individual students also may earn recognition as AP Scholars.)
Based on these AP results, the GaDOE also honored Georgia’s 2019 AP Honor Schools for their work to provide a rigorous education for our students. All of Gwinnett’s 21 diploma-granting high schools open last year—all cluster high schools as well as Gwinnett Online Campus and Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology— were honored as an AP Honor School in one or more category. Several Gwinnett high schools were recognized in more than one category. Archer HS, Dacula HS, Duluth HS, Grayson HS, Lanier HS, and Mountain View HS made the list in five of the six categories.
“The work our schools have done to provide access to a wide range of AP courses and the success our students have in AP courses is something in which our district can take great pride, says Dr. Jonathan Patterson, associate superintendent for Curriculum and Instructional Support. “The rigor and high expectations associated with AP courses and AP exams provides students with the experiences that will help them be successful in their postsecondary endeavors.”
GCPS has a legacy of AP accomplishment, earning recognition in 2017 as a College Board Advanced Placement District of the Year for being the national leader among large school districts in expanding access to AP courses while simultaneously improving AP exam performance. This balance of increased access and increased achievement indicates that the district is successfully preparing a larger array of its students for the rigor of AP and college studies. Participating in AP coursework also can lead to college savings for families because the typical student who scores a 3 or higher on two AP exams has the potential to save, on average, $1,779 at a public four-year college and more than $6,000 at a private institution.
About AP in GCPS…
Advanced Placement (AP) courses are challenging, college-level classes taught by specially trained high school teachers. AP coursework is demanding and the classes are writing-intensive and rigorous. Among the AP courses offered in Gwinnett County high schools are English Literature and Composition, English Language and Composition, European History, World History, U.S. History, Comparative Government, U.S. Government, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Psychology, Human Geography, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Statistics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics B, Physics C, Environmental Science, Spanish, French, German, Latin, Computer Science, Music Theory, Art History, Studio Drawing Portfolio, 2-D Design Portfolio, and 3-D Design Portfolio. (Each GCPS high school offers AP courses based on student interest and staffing considerations.)
Optional subject-specific AP exams are given at the end of the school year. Many colleges award credit for passing the exams (with a score of 3 or higher out of 5) or allow a student to be exempt from certain college courses.