Sycamore Community Unit School District 427 is one of 539 school districts across 44 states in the U.S. and Canada honored by the College Board with placement on the third annual AP District Honor Roll for simultaneously increasing access to Advanced Placement course work and increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams.
Achieving both of these goals is the ideal scenario for a district’s AP program because it indicates that the district is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are likely to benefit most from rigorous AP course work. Since 2010, District 427 has increased the number of students participating in AP by 43 percent while the number of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher rose by 25 students. More than 90 percent of colleges and universities across the U.S. offer college credit, advanced placement or both for a score of 3 or above on an AP Exam — which can potentially save students and their families thousands of dollars in college tuition.
“I am extremely proud of the students and staff at Sycamore High School for this award,” SHS Principal Tim Carlson said in a news release. “The students have taken on a more rigorous curriculum to improve their opportunity to attend college and at the same time the staff has been willing to open their doors to a wider range of students, which offers more challenges to both teachers and students. We are extremely proud to be one of only 22 schools in the state of Illinois to receive this award.”
Only about half of African-American, Hispanic and Native American students with a high degree of readiness for AP participate, often because their school does not offer the AP course. The College Board called for commitment to expanding the availability of AP courses and urged schools to support, mentor and encourage AP students.
“We applaud the extraordinary efforts of the devoted teachers and administrators in this district who are fostering rigorous work worth doing. These educators have not only expanded student access to AP course work, but they have enabled more of their students to achieve on a college level, which is helping to create a strong college-going culture,” College Board President David Coleman said in the release.
The College Board examines three years of AP data when compiling the District Honor Roll. To be included on the Honor Roll, schools must increase participation or access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, 6 percent in medium districts and 11 percent in small districts; ensure that the number of black, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaskan Native students taking AP exams did not decrease by more than 5 percent in large or medium districts or by more than 10 percent in small districts; and improve performance levels of students taking AP Exams.