AP program experiences highest ever number of administered exams

AP program experiences highest ever number of administered exams
Posted on 09/04/2018
AP program experiences highest ever number of administered exams

An AP student receives a check for passing AP exams.
by Dwight Henson
PISD Communications

Pasadena ISD Advanced Placement (AP) students set a new record this past school year by taking over 7,000 AP exams.

While the AP program has been in place in PISD since 1989, participation really hit its stride in 2004, when a grant by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation was awarded to the district.

The five-year grant provided training for all Math and English AP and pre-AP teachers and incentivized students by awarding them $100 for every exam passed.

The grant ended in 2009 with 2,070 exams administered, up from 448 exams in 2004 (prior to the grant’s implementation).

After achieving a 362 percent increase in administered exams, the grant was renewed for an additional five years.

Over the next five years, the number of AP exams administered more than doubled to 4,262 in 2014.

Recognizing the success of the program, the PISD School Board continues to support the grant’s incentive of awarding $100 to students for each qualifying score on an AP exam.

“Continuing this incentive encourages students to participate in AP classes, which motivates them to graduate high school and enter a post-secondary program, whether they earn a qualifying score or not,” said Susan Metcalfe, instruction specialist of advanced academics.

In May of 2017, Pasadena ISD’s AP program was recognized at the national level by the College Board as an AP Honor Roll District.

Pat Sermas, director of advanced academics and AVID, attributes the success of the program to a paradigm shift throughout the district.

“After the grant’s implementation, the mindset of the AP program shifted,” said Sermas. “Its training equipped teachers with necessary skills and techniques to differentiate instruction, and therefore be more inclusive of the diverse population throughout the district.”