Advanced Placement in High School

March 27, 2018

Academics High School College Prep Students Advanced Placement

As we gear up for our first freshman class this coming August, we want to keep you informed about what we aim to offer.  As we have been advertising these past several months, one of the two pillars of our high school program will be our Advanced Placement (AP) courses, culminating for many in the AP Capstone experience. The other pillar of our program will be our focus on STEAM.

The AP Program was started back in 1955 by The College Board.  It enables students to pursue college-level studies while in high school.  Based on their performance on rigorous AP exams, students can earn credit, advanced placement, or both for college.  The program is, in essence, a collaboration between colleges, high schools, and The College Board. Colleges participate in the development of the courses and exams, and then provide the credit or placement.  High schools offer the courses and administer the exams. The College Board coordinates all this, authorizes the use of the “AP” designation on transcripts, creates the materials, reports the results, and provides resources for high school administrators, counselors, teachers, and students.

While there are many different college-level courses available, we will be offering two to our incoming 9th graders in this first year of our high school:

  • AP World History
  • AP Computer Science Principles

Research indicates that successful AP students tend to have:

  • Higher first- and fourth-year college GPAs (Hargrove, Godin, and Dodd, 2008)
  • Higher performance in intermediate-level college courses (Morgan and Klaric, 2007)
  • Higher likelihood of majoring in the particular subject in which they participated in AP, especially STEM subjects (Mattern, Shaw, and Ewing, 2011)
  • Higher four-year bachelor’s degree attainment rates (Mattern, Marini, and Shaw, 2013; Hargrove, Godin, and Dodd, 2008)

One of the best standard predictors of academic success at Harvard is performance on Advanced Placement Examinations.”  

    - William Fitzsimmons, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Harvard University

AP courses allow high school students to:

  1. Explore advanced topics – study in greater depth
  2. Develop advanced skills – form disciplined study habits
  3. Build confidence in capability to succeed in college
  4. Flexibly pursue double major, or combined B.A./M.A. programs, or study abroad options

For HIS, it allows us to:

  1. Demonstrate our commitment to challenge our students with the most rigorous coursework available
  2. Demonstrate our commitment to preparing our students for college and productive careers

While participation in AP courses is voluntary, we are confident that many, if not most, of our high school students will be academically ready to not only take, but succeed, in these engaging and worthwhile courses.

- John Heffron, Director of Teaching & Learning

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