Number of Advanced Placement exam takers continues to grow

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BELOIT - The number of students participating in advance placement (AP) programs continues to grow, both statewide and locally.

Participation in the AP program increased by 1,055 graduates in Wisconsin from 2017 to 2018. The number of exams they took went up by 4,578. Of the 71,238 AP exams 2018 graduates took, 24,835 were in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI).

Wisconsin's 2018 public school graduates took more than 71,000 AP exams while in high school, with 66.4 percent of those exams scoring three or higher on a five-point scale, which resulted in them being eligible for college credit, advance standing or both at many colleges and universities.

Wisconsin's 2018 graduates who earned scores of three or higher on their AP exams are estimated to save nearly $43 million in college costs.

At Beloit Turner High School, the number of students taking AP classes continues to grow substantially. In 2006-2007, for example, 37 students took AP tests. In 2017-2018, 119 students took the tests.

AP tests taken at Turner grew from 49 in 2006-2007 to 180 in 2017-2018.

The AP participation rate at Turner is higher than the state average, increasing from 9.7 percent in 2006-2007 to 26.4 percent in 2017-2018. The state's participation rate was 7.8 in 2006-2007 and 16.4 percent in 2017-2018, according to data from Turner Superintendent Dennis McCarthy.

McCarthy said Turner has seen a huge increase over the past 12 years in students taking AP courses.

"We attribute this to a couple of key factors. Our staff have taken the time and made the effort to develop courses to meet the demand of our students and families. We have heard past concerns about not having enough AP offerings and our staff responded by developing the coursework," McCarthy said.

McCarthy said students, in turn, responded by taking the challenge and completing AP courses.

"We have very few students that opt out of the exam because they are willing to complete the challenge of the course. Over the past five years, we have greatly exceeded the state average in the percent of students taking AP exams and it is a testament to the outstanding opportunities we can offer students in a smaller high school setting," McCarthy said.

This past school year, Turner students took tests in the following 11 AP courses: biology, calculus AB, calculus BC, chemistry, macro-economics, English literature/composition, government and politics, history, psychology, Spanish language and statistics. This year Turner has added AP Physics.

It also offers multiple other online options via its JEDI virtual school.

Since 2014, Clinton has seen an 8.6 percent increase in students taking AP classes and an 8.1 percent increase in students taking the AP exams where 52.4 percent of student earn a 3 or better on the exams. The district is seeing a dramatic rise in students taking transcripted courses while in high school and participating in the Early College Credit Program where they can take one or more courses at an institution of higher education. These programming options provide students with an alternative to Advanced Placement while providing an academically enriching experience for students.

"We are seeing a dramatic rise in students taking transcripted courses while in high school and participating in the Early College Credit Program where they can take one or more courses at an institution of higher education. These programming options provide students with an alternative to Advanced Placement while equally providing an academically enriching experience for students," said Clinton Superintendent Jim Brewer.

The Daily News inquired about the numbers of students taking part in AP classes and tests at Beloit Memorial High School on Wednesday, but hadn't received any information as of press time this morning.

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