Virginia Beach high schools are seeing record performance levels in advanced placement courses, exams

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VBCPSThe number of students taking AP classes in Virginia Beach has reached a record high.

More than 6,825 students were enrolled in AP courses during the 2015-16 school year, which is 380 students more than the previous year. Students who perform well on the PSAT are encouraged by faculty and administrators to enroll in the courses.

While enrollment numbers are climbing, the greatest increase seen was that of African-American students. Overall, 9 percent more African-American students participated in AP classes during the 2015-16 school year than in the previous school year.

“This data is spectacular,” said Dr. Aaron Spence, superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools, in a press release. “We are seeing growth in every area of our AP enrollment and performance. More importantly, it is the proof that our students – across all subgroups – are eager and ready for the challenges of rigorous classroom experiences.”

The classes offer advanced coursework to students in several subjects and allow the students to earn college credit before graduating high school. More than 30 courses were offered in Virginia Beach public schools last year.

Not only are more students enrolled in higher-level courses, students are also performing better on AP exams than ever before, according to the College Board. Board officials said that 6 percent more students took the end of year AP exams, scored from 1-5, and more than 58 percent of those students scored a 3 or higher.

Almost 20 percent of students taking AP courses were designated as 2016 AP Scholars for receiving a 3 or better on their exams. For 68 students who have taken at least eight of the advanced exams, their efforts earned the designation of National AP Scholars, an honor given to students who average a score of 4 or higher over all completed AP exams.

The school district recently announced that students are also performing higher on the SATs for the first time since 2008, and on-time graduation rates are at an all-time high.

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