Local students knock out AP tests

Parkwood High School in southern Union County saw jumps in AP exam scores.

Recently released results from ColegeBoard Advanced Placement tests show Union County students are taking more – and doing better on – the difficult exams.

In Union County Public Schools, 2,943 AP exams were taken last year – an increase of almost 600 compared to the year prior and more than 50 percent better than four years ago. School officials contribute the increase to the system’s commitment to “helping every student reach their individual potential.”

“In our quest to prepare students for success post-graduation, our schools have intentionally sought to encourage students to stretch themselves in Advanced Placement classes,” new schools Superintendent Mary Ellis said in a news release. “Credit is due to the students themselves, as well as their teachers who work directly with them.”

Breaking down the numbers a little more, Union County students compare favorably to their counterparts in the rest of the country. In 2011-12, around 56 percent of students in the U.S. scored a 3 or higher on the exams. That’s the score needed to get college credit for a class. The percentage scoring at least a 3 in Union County: 62.4 percent.

At Parkwood High School, which pulls some kids from South Providence, Waxhaw and Western Union elementary schools, the county saw its best growth in passing rates. Students there improved by 16 percentage points to top the county average, and the school administered 34 more exams than the year before.

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