Pasco high schools see improvement in AP participation, results
For the past few years, Pasco County high schools have tried to get more students to push themselves in Advanced Placement courses.
The state's decision to include the participation and passing rates in its grading system for high schools gave the initiative, aimed at increasing college preparedness, extra importance.
While the results (see attachment below) aren't stellar — students passed just 45 percent of the tests taken, below the state's 49 percent — there are signs of improvement.
For one, in 2006 students passed just 39 percent of the exams, and that was with thousands fewer students taking the tests. That means more students are getting exposed to the curriculum, which is billed as college prep, and more are passing, which can earn them college credits.
That's great news according to district leaders, many of whom tout the AP program even for students who don't pass because, they say, it prepares them for the rigor of college (if that's where they're headed — only about a quarter of Pasco students actually go, district officials have said).
Individual schools also have seen some great successes with their AP programs.
Mitchell High put almost a quarter of its students into one or more AP classes, and it had a 62 percent passing rate, best in Pasco County. Wiregrass Ranch, Wesley Chapel and Land O'Lakes high schools also had 20 percent or more of their students in AP courses, with all but Wesley Chapel seeing a passing rate higher than 50 percent.
On the other end of the spectrum, Anclote High continued to struggle, with a 14 percent passing rate (compared to last year's 8 percent) as it more than doubled participation. Hudson High saw its participation drop slightly, although its passing rate increased to 23 percent from 14 percent a year earlier.
District officials said they will continue to seek improvement in the AP programs.