FRANKFORT — A program to put more Kentucky high school students in advanced-placement classes says its efforts helped students in 12 target schools dramatically increase achievement on national AP exams last school year.
Students at the 12 Kentucky schools — all of which participate in the AdvanceKy effort to boost AP class participation — earned 768 passing scores on AP national exams in math, science and English, representing a 76.6 percent increase over the previous year. That increase easily topped the state's overall passing score increase of 17.5 percent, and far exceeded the national increase of 5.7 percent. The scores are from AP tests students took last school year.
Advance Placement classes are viewed as keys to preparing students for college success.
AdvanceKy is a joint effort by the Kentucky Science and Technology Corp. and the state Department of Education, in partnership with the National Math and Science Initiative.
Executive director Joanne Lang said AdvanceKy helped the schools use a variety of approaches to boost tests results, including opening AP classes to more students, counseling students, providing supplies and equipment, providing intensive training for AP teachers and offering cash incentives.
For example, students received $100 for each "qualifying score" of 3 or above on any math, science or English AP exam. (The maximum score is 5.) A teacher received $100 for each of his or her students who got a score of 3 or greater.
"These scores are beyond impressive," said state Education and Workforce Development Secretary Helen Mountjoy. "They show great promise for Kentucky students, for Kentucky teachers and for the commonwealth as a whole. They demonstrate that Kentucky students are capable of doing high-quality, rigorous work when they are properly supported."
The high schools cited in the scores released Tuesday were Anderson County, Barren County, Corbin Independent, Henderson County, Lone Oak, Marion County, North Laurel, Reidland, Scott County, Shelby County, South Laurel and Warren East.
They are the first 12 Kentucky schools to join the AdvanceKy program. The number of participating schools is expanding to 27 this year, and officials hope to have 100 in five years.
All of the schools listed Tuesday exceeded their AP scores from 2007-2008, Lang said. "These schools have changed the game," she said.