CEDAR FALLS — The success of Cedar Falls Community Schools’ students in Advanced Placement courses is being recognized for the second year in a row.
The school district is one of two in Iowa and 373 in the U.S. and Canada being highlighted by the College Board with placement on the annual AP District Honor Roll, which looks at performance over a three-year period. Pleasant Valley Community Schools is the other Iowa district.
Since 2016, Cedar Falls Schools has increased AP participation while maintaining the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on the optional end-of-course exam. The exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5.
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Scores of 3 to 5 indicate a student is “qualified,” “well qualified” or “extremely well qualified” for introductory-level college course work in a particular subject, according to the College Board. While many colleges and universities grant credit and placement for such scores, each decides which it will accept.
This the ninth year of the honor roll and the fifth time Cedar Falls has been included. The district was also on the honor roll from 2011 to 2013.
“This recognition demonstrates our goal to have all students achieve at high levels,” Jason Wedgbury, Cedar Falls High School principal, said in a news release. “We are proud to be recognized by the College Board for the outstanding efforts of our students and teachers.”
The College Board looked at data from 2016 to 2018 on 38 AP exams for inclusion in the current honor roll. Cedar Falls needed to:
- Increase participation/access by at least 6 percent.
- Increase or maintain the percentage of American Indian/Alaska native, black, Hispanic, and native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander students taking exams and increase or maintain the percentage of those students scoring 3 or more on at least one AP exam.
- Improve performance levels when comparing the percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher in 2018 compared to 2016, unless the district has already attained a performance level at which more than 70 percent of its AP students are scoring a 3 or higher.
Wedgbury presented data on the school’s AP courses to the Cedar Falls Board of Education last month. Total AP course enrollments grew from 534 to 575 between the 2015-16 and 2017-18 school years. That represented a growth from 24.2 to 32.1 percent of total high school enrollment.
The percentage of students in AP classes who completed the optional exam grew from 70 to 72 percent during that time. Those who earned scores of 3 or more represented 85 percent in 2016 and 84.3 percent in 2018.
The complete AP District Honor Roll can be found online at apcentral.collegeboard.org/about-ap/awards/district-honor-roll.