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Our View: Advanced Placement classes benefit school, parents, students

There is a long list of positive things that go on in the schools within the Hudson School District. One of those things is the success of the Advanced Placement program.

AP classes and tests have a direct financial benefit to those students who can successfully complete a class and/or pass an AP test and their parents. Students who succeed are given college credit for those classes and there is no tuition cost to the student. We all know college tuition costs continue to rise; a student who can complete and pass AP examinations see an immediate financial gain.

The Advanced Placement (AP) program was initiated by the College Board in the early 1950s and is a cooperative educational endeavor between secondary schools and colleges and universities. This national program consists of 33 high school AP courses that are based on the curriculum of introductory college courses. AP courses are offered in more than 13,000 high schools in every state of the United States and are recognized by over 3,000 U.S. and foreign colleges and universities, which grant credit and/or advanced placement to students who have performed satisfactorily on AP Examinations.

These AP examinations are rigorous, standardized tests prepared by the College Board and administered in May. In June the exams are graded by more than 2,800 college and secondary school teachers brought together especially for this purpose. In July, students are mailed their exam scores. The following five-point scale is used to score the exams:

5 = extremely well qualified

4 = well qualified

3 = qualified

2 = possibly qualified

1 = no recommendation.

Each college decides which AP Exam scores it will accept in return for credit and/or advanced placement. Many institutions grant credit for scores of 3 and above. For example, all UW System institutions will grant degree credits for scores of 3 or above on all AP Examinations.

In part because of this policy, the percentage of freshman students submitting Advanced Placement scores to the UW-Madison has grown from 22.8 percent in the 1991-1992 school year to 44.1 percent in the 1996-1997 school year. Last year over 60 percent of UW freshmen had earned AP credit.

The good news is, Hudson continues to expand its AP offerings and more and more students are taking advantage of the program. In May 2013, 427 HHS students took 787 AP tests; that is a huge increase from 2008 when a total of 209 students took 321 tests. Of the 787 exams taken last May, 631 recorded scores of 3 or above.

Hudson is well above the state when it comes to students recording scores of 3 or above. Hudson’s 80 percent beats the state average of 69 percent and the national average of 61 percent. That’s good news for the school district, parents and students!

Doug Stohlberg

Doug Stohlberg has been part of the Hudson Star-Observer since 1973 and has been editor since 1987. He worked at the New Richmond News from 1971 to 1973. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota.

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