Mobile County Public Schools is proud to announce that a record 222 students earned Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar recognition during the 2016-17 school year, an increase of 21 over last year.
Students participated in a variety of AP Exam subjects ranging from U.S. History and Biology to a new Computer Science Principles (CSP) course that was offered for the first time. In 2016-17, a total of 1,619 students took 2,751 exams.
Two students received National AP Scholar recognition: Hannah Morris and Elizabeth Munn, both of Baker High School. This recognition is granted to students who receive an average score of at least 4 on all AP Exams taken and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.
“I am incredibly proud of our students for their dedicated efforts to pursuing their goals,” Superintendent Martha Peek said. “Our students had a record-breaking year for their AP achievements.”
The College Board’s AP Program provides academically prepared students with the opportunity to take rigorous college-level courses while still in high school. Each course culminates with a May exam designed to measure each student’s mastery of the subject. Exams are graded on a scale of 1-5, with scores of 3, 4 or 5 considered passing or “qualifying” scores. More than 90 percent of four-year colleges in the United States give students credit, advanced placement, or both on the basis of AP Exam scores.
MCPSS provides teacher training and mentoring, Saturday study sessions and other academic supports for students, and also pays for the AP exams so students are encouraged to take them and are not burdened with the expense.
The district saw a 4 percent increase in AP students taking the tests and a 20 percent increase in those who scored a passing 3 or better, qualifying them for college credit.
“We are fortunate that our community, families and staff believe in providing opportunities for every student to reach their potential,” Peek said. “This tremendous growth and success with our AP program is only possible through the work of many.”
MCPSS outperformed the state and national scores in the new AP Computer Science Principles course, with 77 percent earning scores of 3 or higher. Forty-four percent of the test-takers were female, and 23 percent were African-American. The class focuses less on Java coding and more on the “big ideas” behind computer science, such as how the Internet works, the global impact of technology, big data and cybersecurity, and the creative aspects of programming.
All 12 MCPSS high schools offer AP courses. Baker, which had 95 students recognized as AP Scholars this year, is one of only five high schools in the state of Alabama to be named an AP Capstone School, which allows it to offer several AP courses that aren’t available elsewhere.