Advanced placement offers college prep in high school

Advanced placement offers college prep in high school More South Dakota schools are participating in the Advanced Placement Program, which gives students the opportunity to take college-level courses while still in high school.

The Advanced Placement (AP) Program's rigorous curriculum is a good option for schools that want to do more to prepare their high school students for college-level work, said Robert T. Tad Perry, executive director of the South Dakota Board of Regents. "With the variety of mechanisms available for course delivery today, AP coursework has become a real option for schools of all sizes," Perry said.

The AP data were included in the SAT report released Aug. 27 by The College Board.

"The AP program is still relatively small in South Dakota, but it's growing. The statewide trend is toward more schools participating and more exams being taken," Perry said. South Dakota had 1,434 high school students taking a total of 2,302 AP exams this year; 52 schools in the state reported at least one student taking the AP examination. The number of South Dakota schools participating is up from 46 last year, and the number of exams taken is up by 9.5 percent.

Northern State University also uses the AP examinations to validate the coursework it delivers to South Dakota high school students, Perry noted.

This fall, 30 school districts are working with Northern, 17 of those through the Statewide Center for E-learning, to provide their students with opportunities to earn college credit.

Back in 1996, South Dakota reported only 630 students taking 884 AP exams. That year, South Dakota's public universities began offering summer training institutes to prepare educators to teach AP courses. Interest in the program has grown since then, Perry said.

"I congratulate the administrators, school boards, and teachers at South Dakota high schools who have introduced the new learning opportunities that AP offers to their students," he said.

AP classes, offered in 19 subject areas, are equivalent to a first-year college course and can be taught by high school teachers who follow certain course guidelines. Perry said high school students who participate in the AP program not only gain college-level skills but in many cases also earn college credit while still in high school.

"This kind of cooperative educational program between high schools and universities is a big advantage to motivated students who want to get a jump start on college," he said.

In South Dakota, English literature and composition is the most popular AP course offered, followed by calculus, U.S. history, English language and composition, and U.S. government and politics.

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