Beaufort County school officials have been encouraged by recent data that shows Beaufort County students taking Advanced Placement courses has increased over the past five years.
According to 2013 data from the College Board, nearly half of the Beaufort County students who took Advanced Placement courses last school year scored high enough to earn college credit.
"It's encouraging to see improvements in performance at the same time we're seeing dramatic increases in the numbers of students taking AP courses," said Superintendent Jeff Moss in a statement. "It means that more students are stretching themselves academically and working to meet the challenge of college-level work while they're still in high school. And it means that our educators and schools are supporting those students and helping them to succeed."
Testing experts say average test scores usually go down when more students take the tests, but in Beaufort County this has not happened.
Last school year, 47 percent of Beaufort County's AP students scored 3 or better on the tests, earning them college credit. While that figure is down from 50 percent in 2011-12, it is an improvement from 44 percent five years ago.
Four local high schools increased both the number of AP tests taken, but also increased the percentage of students that scored high enough to receive college credit.
Seven Beaufort County students were named 2013 National AP Scholars by the College Board: Adam Lipsitz from Beaufort High, and from Bluffton High, Ariyanne Colston, Erich Greiner, Darby Jardeleza, Erica Porter, Joseph Porter and Jose Resendiz. National AP Scholars must have scored 4 or higher on all AP exams and must have taken at least eight exams while in high school.
Statewide, the percentage of AP exams with scores of 3 or better improved slightly from 57 percent five years ago to 58 percent in 2013. Nationwide, the percentage of exams with scores of 3 or better improved slightly from 57 percent five years ago to 59 percent last year.
Eighty-six district students were named AP Scholars for scoring 3 or higher on three or more exams.
Twenty-six students were named AP Scholars with Honor for averaging 3.25 or higher on all exams taken and for scoring 3 or higher on four or more exams.
Thirty-five students were named AP Scholars with Distinction for averaging 3.5 on all exams taken and for scoring 3 or higher on five or more exams
Bluffton High had 38 AP Scholars, 13 AP Scholars with Honor, 19 AP Scholars with Distinction and six of the district's seven National AP Scholars.
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