BEACON FALLS — Over the past several years, there has been an emphasized placed on expanding Advanced Placement courses at Woodland Regional High School. That work has not gone unnoticed.
Region 16 was recently named to the College Board’s 2nd Annual AP Honor Roll. The school district was one of 367 districts in 43 states and Canada to earn the distinction.
“This is an inspiring achievement,” said Superintendent of Schools James Agostine after announcing the honor at the Board of Education’s Nov. 16 meeting.
The College Board oversees the Advanced Placement (AP) program. AP courses are year-long, college-level classes high school students can take. At the end of the year, students can choose to take the course’s final exam. Students are scored on a scale of 1 to 5 on the exams and if they score well enough they can earn college credit.
According to a release issued by the College Board, Region 16 made the AP Honor Roll for simultaneously increasing access to Advanced Placement coursework while maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP exams.
“Participation in college-level AP courses can level the playing field for underserved students, give them the confidence needed to succeed in college, and raise standards and performance in key subjects like science and math,” said College Board President Gaston Caperton in the release. “The AP Honor Roll districts are defying expectations by expanding access while enabling their students to maintain or improve their AP Exam scores.”
Woodland currently offers 12 AP courses and recently approved adding AP Italian to the curriculum. Over the past six years, the number of students at Woodland taking AP courses has nearly tripled. According to school officials, 49 students were enrolled in AP courses during the 2005-06 school year. This year, 139 students are taking AP courses.
“The bar is continuously rising in Region 16,” Agostine said.
According to the College Board, there has been a rise in students taking AP courses across the country. However, that increase has been met with a slight decline since 2001 in the percentage of AP students scoring a 3 or better on AP exams.
Region 16 has managed to buck this trend and has maintained a high percentage of students scoring 3 or better. Last year, according to schools officials, Woodland’s average score on AP exams was 3.25.
“(Region 16) has achieved something very remarkable. It managed to open the doors of its AP classrooms to many more students, while also increasing the percentage of students earning high enough AP Exam grades to stand out in the competitive college admission process and qualify for college credit and placement,” said Trevor Packer, the College Board’s senior vice president of Advanced Placement and college readiness in the release.