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Advanced placement growth wins award for Snoqualmie schools

By upping the number of high school students pursuing challenging courses, Snoqualmie Valley School District was singled out for a national honor by the College Board.

Snoqualmie is one of 388 school districts in the nation, one of six in Washington State, to make the board's AP Achievement List. Specifically, the district won the award for opening Advanced Placement classroom doors to a significantly broader pool of students, while maintaining or improving the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher.

From 2008 to 2010, the Snoqualmie Valley School District increased the number of students from 149 to 214 participating in its Advanced Placement classes, while also improving the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher, the score typically needed to earn college credit, from 74 percent in 2008 to 75 percent in 2010.

Superintendent Joel Aune said continuous improvement is a goal that all local schools strive for. The award "further validates the upward trend that Mount Si High School has experienced in recent years on three fronts: more students enrolling in rigorous courses, more AP courses being made available to students, and an improving percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher," he said in a statement.

This year, students are enrolled in 13 different AP classes at Mount Si High School. In addition, the establishment this fall of the new Snoqualmie Valley Virtual Academy provides 19 accredited online AP course options for students in our district and adds seven more subjects (AP Computer Science, AP Art History, AP Statistics, AP Psychology, AP Microeconomics, AP Macroeconomics and AP French) to what is taught at Mount Si High School.

"Participation in college-level AP courses can level the playing field for underserved 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.

According to the College Board, many U.S. school districts have focused on expanding access to AP courses as part of a strategy for fostering college readiness.

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 level in which more than 70 percent of the AP students are scoring a 3 or higher.

The complete AP Achievement List can be found at www.collegeboard.org.

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