Lassen High’s AP scores improve
Oct. 9, 2012 — Lassen High School’s Advanced Placement (AP) test scores have shown an increase of almost 11 percent in the last five years.
According to AP English teacher Rachel Vincent, English literature and composition test scores for 2012 are well above the global and state average with a mean score of 3.10. For English language and composition, test scores are on par with state and global average at 2.76.
However, improvement is needed in the lab science and math classes. Vincent said the school’s AP biology score was 1.5, while the state score was 2.82. For calculus, the mean score was 1.75 and the state’s was 2.97. In chemistry, Lassen High’s score was 1.33 and the state mean score was 2.79.
But, Vincent said, “In analyzing all these results this is what we found. In the past five years, LHS has jumped from a 51.9 percent pass rate to a 62.8 percent pass rate. Our pass rate as a whole is consistently above the global average and slightly below the California average.”
She gave an AP class presentation to the Lassen Union High School District Board of Trustees during a Tuesday, Sept. 11 meeting.
AP classes offered at LHS are biology, chemistry, calculus, language and composition, literature and composition and new this year, United States history.
Other areas for growth are increasing AP test and morning tutorials participation, ensuring classroom and lab time meet the AP minimum suggestions and making sure teachers have access to training. In addition, suggested prerequisites for science and math are not being met.
Except for language and composition, very few students choose to take the AP test and Vincent said analysis has been done as to why.
She explained the tests are about $84 to $86 and if students are in multiple AP classes, students are going to choose the test with which they are most familiar.
Another identified area for improvement is to find a way to decrease out-of-pocket expenses for the student.
Students who take AP classes at LHS can earn an additional grade point. If a student earns an A in a class, their transcript will say five points rather than four, according to Vincent.
“That’s an incentive for students to take the class and that’s how students get out of Lassen High with a 4.25 or 4.65 GPA,” she said.
If a student scores well on an AP test it will benefit them when they go to college.
Vincent said if a student in her language and composition class scores a three or higher on the test, they can skip at least one, if not two classes in college, which will help them save money on class units.
Taking an AP class will also set students apart for scholarships and college acceptance.
During her presentation, Vincent outlined some of the course requirements and the established department pre-requisites for students to be allowed to take an AP class. She also explained what is required of AP teachers.
They are strongly encouraged to attend an AP institute for training and “Without this training its very difficult to teach a class,” Vincent said.
Teachers are required to design a syllabus, which is approved by the AP board on a yearly basis.
“Most of us have to start from scratch and then we submit our syllabus to the AP board, which is a board comprised of AP teachers … high school and college teachers that have to approve that syllabus,” Vincent said.
According to Vincent, her syllabus is 14 pages and she has to justify every single thing.
Syllabi are re-approved on a yearly basis and the board also approves the college-level AP textbooks.
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