Norton Public Schools is one of 539 school districts across 44 of the 50 states in the United States and Canada being honored by the College Board with placement on the third annual AP District Honor Roll for simultaneously increasing access to Advanced Placement course work while increasing the percentage of students of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams.
Achieving both of these goals is the ideal scenario for a district’s AP program because it indicates that the district is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are likely to benefit most from rigorous AP course work. From 2010-2012, Norton Public Schools has increased the number of students participating in AP from 129 to 204 while still enabling more than 70 percent of AP students to earn at least one score of 3 or higher. More than 90 percent of colleges and universities across the United States offer college credit, advanced placement or both for a score of 3 or above on an AP Exam - which can potentially save students and their families thousands of dollars in college tuition.
Massachusetts was represented by the largest number of AP Honor Roll districts, with 46, followed by Michigan, with 39. In 2008, 85 students at Norton High School took an advanced placement course. With the new open enrollment, 205 students took advantage of the option last year.
Seventy-three percent of the AP test scores in Norton 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 is a tremendous accomplishment for Norton High School and speaks volumes of the work of the students, staff and families of the entire Norton Public Schools,” said interim superintendent of schools Dr. Christopher Martes. “I want to commend our students for accepting this challenge and making us proud.”
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 AP courses being offered at Norton High, which include English, math, science and history.
“We applaud the extraordinary efforts of the devoted teachers and administrators in the district, who are fostering rigorous work worth doing. These educators have not only expanded student access to AP course work, but they have enabled more of their students to achieve on a college level - which is helping to create a strong college-going culture,” said College Board president David Coleman.
Helping more students learn at a higher level and earn higher AP scores is an objective of all members of the AP community, from AP teachers to district and school administrators to college professors. Many districts are experimenting with a variety of initiatives and strategies to determine how to expand access and improve student performance simultaneously.
“There has been a great victory among educators who have believed that a more diverse population could indeed succeed in AP courses. In 2012, AP scores were higher than they’d been since 2004, when one million fewer students were being given access. These outcomes are a powerful testament to educators’ belief that many more students were indeed ready and waiting for the sort of rigor that would prepare them for what they would encounter in college,” said Trevor Packer, the College Board’s senior vice president of the Advanced Placement program. “While we recognize that there is still much work to be done to prepare students for college, I find myself inspired daily by what they are achieving.”
Inclusion on the third annual AP District Honor Roll is based on the examination of three years of AP data, from 2010 to 2012 for the following criteria:
- Increase participation/access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, at least 6 percent in medium districts and at least 11 percent in small districts.
- Ensure that the percentage of African American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaska native students taking AP Exams did not decrease by more than 5 percent for the large and medium districts or by more than 10 percent for small districts.
- Improve performance levels when comparing the percentage of students in 2012 by scoring a 3 or higher to those in 2010, unless the district has already attained a performance level in which more than 70 percent of the AP students are scoring a 3 or higher.