La Porte ISD is one of 388 school districts in the nation named to the Advanced Placement® (AP) Achievement List by the College Board. These school districts were recognized for opening AP classroom doors to a significantly broader pool of students, while maintaining or improving the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher.
LPISD was among 23 districts in Texas to earn this honor; approximately 12,000 districts across the nation participate in the AP program. From 2008 to 2010, LPISD has increased the number of students participating in AP from 146 to 183 while improving the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher, the score typically needed to earn college credit, from 42 percent in 2008 to 51 percent in 2010.
"I am proud that La Porte High School has received this national affirmation of what we in La Porte have known to be true-that our student performance on all campuses, but particularly at the high school, is in an upward arc and at the highest level in the district's history," said Lloyd W. Graham, LPISD superintendent. "I am very pleased for the students, teachers, parents and leadership who have worked so hard to make this happen."
The AP Achievement List is made up of all school districts that are simultaneously expanding opportunity and improving performance. The honored school districts represent 43 states.
Dr. Joanne Kolius, LPHS principal, gave credit to the students and teachers for the school's increased participation and improved performance.
"We work hard to provide teachers with as many resources as possible," she said, noting that the teachers have aligned their syllabi and curriculum to student success. AP study guides are provided to students to help give them the confidence they need to sign up for the test and be successful. In addition, pre-AP courses give students a preview of what will be expected in their AP courses, she said.
"Participation in college-level AP courses can level the playing field for under-served students, give them the confidence needed to succeed in college, and raise standards and performance in key subjects like science and math," said College Board president Gaston Caperton. "The AP Achievement List districts are defying expectations by expanding access while enabling their students to maintain or improve their AP scores."
Many U.S. school districts have focused on expanding access to AP courses as part of a strategy for fostering college readiness. While these efforts have resulted in more students earning scores of 3 or better-the score typically cited as a "qualifying" or "successful" score because the majority of U.S. colleges and universities provide college credit or advanced placement for this score-these efforts have also resulted in more students now earning scores of 1 or 2. Accordingly, there has been a slight decline since 2001 in the percentage of AP students scoring a 3 or better, a decline that is to be expected in any program attracting a broader cross-section of students.
Helping more students learn at a higher level and earn higher AP scores is an objective of all members of the AP community, from AP teachers to district and school administrators to college professors. Many are experimenting with a variety of initiatives and strategies to determine how to expand access and improve student performance simultaneously.
"These districts are living proof that when access to AP is provided for the range and breadth of prepared and motivated students, districts can achieve even higher learning outcomes for their students-and the opportunity for so many more to earn college credit and placement-than when AP opportunities were restricted to a smaller segment of the high school population," said Trevor Packer, vice president of the College Board's Advanced Placement Program.
Inclusion on the list is based on the following criteria:
• Examination of three years of AP data, from 2008 to 2010
• Increase in participation in/access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, at least 7 percent in medium districts, and at least 11 percent in small districts
• A steady or increasing percentage of exams taken by African American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaska Native students; and
• Performance levels maintained or improved when comparing the percentage of exams in 2010 scoring a 3 or higher to those in 2008, or the school has already attained a performance leveling in which more than 70 percent of the AP students are scoring a 3 or higher.
Additionally, school districts with an AP student population composed of 50 percent or more traditionally underrepresented minority students (African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaskan Native) and/or low-income students have been noted on the Achievement List to highlight significant improvements in equity and quality among the nation's historically underserved student populations.
The complete AP Achievement List can be found at