In 2008, 85 students took an advanced placement course at Norton High School. With the new open enrollment, 205 students took advantage of the option last year.
Funding given to the school by the Massachusetts Math and Science Initiative allowed Norton High to offer the class to any students without qualifiers such as entry exams or recommendations. There are 12 courses, which include English, math and science. History is not part of the grant, though is offered as an AP course. Four courses have been added in the last three years with AP physics as the newest.
“What impresses me the most, however, is we have the open enrollment but in looking at our average scores over the past five years, they have maintained,” said Norton High School principal Megan Lafayette said. “The scores have maintained.”
Seventy-three percent of the AP test scores are ranked at a 3 or higher. This is the case before and after the open enrollment. This is just above the state average and 10 percent above the global average. The qualifying score for most colleges is 3.
“This tells me we are doing something right,” Lafayette said. “More students have the opportunity to take this test and they’re still achieving at high levels.”
At the School Committee meeting Monday night, three students explained why they take the courses. Among the reasons were the challenge, free college course credit and experience.
“I needed to know that I could handle these classes in college,” explained Naomi Stuffers.
Christine Tamulis agreed, adding that it looks good on a college resume.
“All the research shows that if a student takes an AP class, no matter what they score on the test they are more prepared for college classes,” Lafayette said.
The funding also provides optional Saturday learning sessions for students and helps train three teachers a year, who take what they learn to all levels in all grades.