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School district’s AP pass rate ranks among highest in state

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Collierville Schools was one of four school districts in Tennessee to earn an eye popping 70-percent pass rate on the Advanced Placement exams in 2017.

Education Commissioner Candice McQueen made the announcement last week in conjunction with news that a record setting 29,000 Tennessee students took AP exams in 2017.

In addition, the number of students who scored a pass rate of three or higher, which makes students eligible for college credit at many institutions, increased from 15,065 last year to 16,240 this 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.

“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,” 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.”

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.

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.

Collierville joins Franklin County, Maryville City and Kingsport City Schools as districts that achieved an AP pass rate of 70 percent, meaning that only 30 percent or fewer of participating students earned a score below three.

Participation also increased across districts. Williamson County Schools had the most students participate this year: 4,902, about 500 more students than participated last year. Marshall County had the largest percent increase in students taking at least one AP exam, almost three times their participation from the previous year. Lincoln County, Johnson City, and Gibson County Special School District also had an over 50 percent increase in students taking at least one AP exam.

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