In 2012, 79.8% of the 119 QHS students that took Advanced Placement (AP) tests scored a 3 or higher. The percentage of students achieving this at QHS is over 11% higher than the statewide average of 67.2% and over 17% higher than the global average of 61.5%.
Advanced Placement courses are administered by the College Board and allow students to earn college credit and/or advanced placement based on scores they earn on Advanced Placement tests. Tests are graded on a scale of 1-5. Typically, colleges award credit for scores of 3 or higher.
Over the years, QHS students have consistently scored higher than the state and global average. QHS Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction, Jody Steinke, attributes students’ AP success to the exceptional teachers at QHS and the training they receive to teach AP courses. To teach an AP course, teachers are required to submit a rigorous, detailed syllabus that must be approved by the College Board. QHS goes beyond this minimum requirement and sends all of their AP teachers to week-long, intensive AP workshops on major university campuses.
AP courses not only offer students the opportunity to gain college credit, they also offer some of the most rigorous academic work a student can experience in high school. Students engage in intense discussions, solve problems collaboratively, and learn to write clearly and persuasively. According to Steinke, ‘QHS fosters an environment where teachers have the freedom to create opportunities for students to think critically and solve problems that don’t have clear solutions. This gives our students the tools to be successful on AP exams and also in college.’
AP Psychology teacher, Ron Bridal, has had particular success preparing students for the AP exam. In 2012, 17 of his students received a ‘5’ on their exam – the highest score possible. Bridal is passionate about ensuring that his students do well on their exams. He is in a teacher network of AP Psychology teachers from around the world who come together online to share ideas and provide support to one another. Bridal says, ‘I have designed a very challenging course. Exams are difficult and classroom activities and demonstrations are designed to support the concepts the students are studying.’
According to the College Board, Advanced Placement students stand out in the admission process, and learn from some of the most skilled, dedicated, and inspiring teachers in the world. Most four-year colleges in the United States and colleges in more than 60 other countries give students credit, advanced placement or both on the basis of AP exam scores.
Steinke has seen this in action for QHS graduates. He says it is not uncommon for a student to arrive at college with a semester of credit from AP courses. In the 2013-2014 school year, QHS will offer 14 Advanced Placement courses including:
Studio Art – 2-D Design
Language and Composition
Literature and Composition