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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco high schools see continued improvement in AP results



Pasco County high schools have taken steps to increase participation in college-prep Advanced Placement courses and passing rates on the AP exams since 2009. 

The efforts appear to be paying off.

The district's 2012 test results show that 12 of 15 high schools improved the rates of students earning a score of 3 or higher (passing) on their AP exams. Leading the way was Gulf High School, which had a 74 percent passing rate, up from 59 percent a year before. Other schools with passing rates above 60 percent were Wiregrass Ranch, Sunlake, Mitchell and River Ridge.

Participation continued to rise at six schools -- Ridgewood, Fivay, Land O'Lakes, River Ridge, Mitchell and Wiregrass Ranch -- while it remained steady at Gulf, Zephyrhills, Anclote and Pasco. The other schools saw declines in the numbers of students taking the courses. Notably, several of the schools with growing participation also saw their passing rates rise.

Mitchell High, which has run a summer AP boot camp for two years, had the most students in AP courses, with 521, giving it the highest participation rate at 31 percent. It also had a passing rate of 64 percent. Land O'Lakes had the next highest percentage of students taking AP courses, at 29 percent, with a passing rate of 56 percent. (A district-prepared chart of results is attached below.)

This year, district officials have said class size restrictions will apply less stringently to AP courses, so the classes could grow again. But with state grades placing more weight on AP performance than participation, it will be instructive to see whether that move works well, with students rising to the challenge, or flops, with students in courses they're not ready to take.

[Last modified: Friday, August 10, 2012 5:28pm]


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