Science Hill records 50 percent increase in AP Tests
An investment by the Johnson City Board of Education seems to be having a nice return, as Science Hill High School experienced a 50 percent increase in students taking Advanced Placement (AP) tests last year.
The Johnson City Board of Education included just under $58,000 in last year’s budget in order to pay for all AP Exams at Science Hill – the board also included the line item in this year’s budget. That helped increase the AP tests taken last year to 750 and helped Science Hill become one of three schools in the state to increase their AP test participation by 50 percent.
“We’re very pleased to be recognized for our significant increase in students taking at least one AP exam this past school year,” Science Hill Principal Todd Barnett said. “We think this figure represents a demonstrated commitment on the part of our Hilltopper staff that encourages all students to take advantage of the many early postsecondary opportunities offered in Tennessee.
“More importantly, we think more of our Hilltopper students are recognizing the importance of taking advantage of these opportunities and the benefits they provide as they prepare for college and/or the workplace.”
But, Barnett said, this isn’t the peak for the Hilltoppers.
“We’re pleased with these numbers,” he said, “but our staff will continue to focus on providing classroom opportunities that help our students develop the skills necessary to successfully compete in a global environment.”
Statewide, more than 29,000 students took AP exams in 2017 – a record-breaking year. Across Tennessee, students earned as many as 79,833 college credits from the AP results – which is a 54 percent increase since the 2011-12 school year.
AP classes offer students the ability to take college-level course work and earn college credit based on their performance on the national AP exam. In recent years, the state has been encouraging schools to increase the availability and number of AP exams they offer as part of a diverse portfolio of early postsecondary opportunities. AP exams are one of the eight early postsecondary opportunities offered in Tennessee. Data shows students who take at least four early postsecondary opportunities, which also includes IB programs, dual enrollment, dual credit, and industry certifications, are more likely to be prepared for college.
"These results show that more Tennessee students are becoming better equipped for their next step after high school – which is great news for their future and the future of our state," Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said. "The more that students can take rigorous courses in high school, the better prepared they will be when they enter postsecondary. That's why it's critical that we see both increased success on AP exams and increased access to allow more students the opportunity to take them."
Statewide, 29,258 Tennessee students took 48,355 AP tests in 2017 – about 3,500 more exams than were taken last year – with the most popular subject areas being English language and composition and U.S. history.