At Livingston High School, more students are taking AP – Advanced Placement – classes than ever before, heightening the academic possibilities of teenagers who are being challenged in college-level classes while still in high school.
AP courses are open to all students at LHS, leveling the playing field for developing talent and providing equal access to the curriculum. And with more students choosing to take these rigorous classes, most are also passing the tough AP exam.
The achievement was honored by The Advanced Placement Program, which oversees these classes. For the second straight year, Livingston High School was among the schools included in a national honor roll for simultaneously achieving increases in access to AP courses for a broader number of students and also maintaining or improving the rate at which their AP students earned scores of 3 or higher on an AP Exam.
As impressive as that achievement is one more: Zach Lustbader, the 2012 Valedictorian, was one of just 12 students in the world to earn a perfect score in Macroeconomics AP exam.
Those were among the highlights of the Report on Equal Access to Curriculum presented to the Livingston Board of Education on December 10 by Principal Mark Stern and Assistant Superintendent Mary Oates. Dr. Jennifer Wirt, Assistant Principal, mined the data for the in-depth analysis.
Providing equal access has been a linchpin of reforms by Superintendent Dr. Brad Draeger during his tenure at Livingston Public Schools to challenge and provide the same opportunities for all students.
This year, close to 40 percent of LHS students were taking at least one AP class at the end of the first marking period. Another 62 percent are taking honors classes. As the number of students taking AP classes climbs, the school is seeing more juniors and seniors trading up honors classes for the rigors of AP, in part to improve their high school transcripts and earn college credits.
The percent of students enrolled in AP courses by grade are: Sophomores, 12.4 percent, Juniors, 43.5 percent, and Seniors 44.1 percent. By enrolling so many students, districts would expect to see a decline in the average score on the big end-of-year exam, with more 1s and 2s on the five-point scale -- a 3 or higher is considered a passing grade and eligible for college credit. But that’s not what has happened in Livingston.
Last spring, 95.5 percent of the students at Livingston High School who took AP exams earned a 3 or higher.
Students must earn at least a C minus to continue with the AP courses after the first marking period. Not everyone is able to achieve in these college-level classes. At the end of the first marking period, 4.4 percent of the students in AP classes were switched to either honors or the regular curriculum. Trying an AP course does not count against their transcripts. And it’s worth the try. Some research shows that average students who struggle in an AP course, and even earn one of the lower scores on the test, do better in college than similar students who did not take AP.
Livingston High School offers more than 20 different AP classes, everything from AP Calculus to Fine Arts. Several of our Advanced Placement courses have applications and indicators for success that are required to qualify for self-selection into these programs. Additionally, several Honors courses offer placement assessments outside of the school day to indicate readiness and provide students and parents with important recommendation information to consider when making course selections.
To learn more about the process and timelines, see the Principal’s Message by clicking here.