The Minnetonka Public School District is one of only 11 Minnesota districts and 539 school districts across the United States and Canada being honored by the College Board with placement on the 3rd Annual AP District Honor Roll for simultaneously increasing access to Advanced Placement course work while maintaining a high percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams.
Achieving both of these goals is the ideal scenario for a district’s AP program because it indicates that the district is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are likely to benefit most from rigorous AP course work.
Since 2010, Minnetonka High School has increased the number of students participating in AP from 687 to 835 while maintaining a high percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of three or more. More than 90 percent of colleges and universities across the U.S. offer college credit, advanced placement or both for a score of 3 or above on an AP Exam — which can potentially save students and their families thousands of dollars in college tuition.
“Achievement in both our Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Programs have increased in recent years,” noted Superintendent Dennis Peterson. “We only expect this trend to continue. Due to the advanced rigor provided in our elementary and middle school programs in recent years, we are opening more access AP courses for high school freshmen in social studies and science.
"By the time our Immersion students reach high school, many will be ready for AP world language exams. Increasing AP and IB participation has been an important goal for our District, because this level of achievement opens more opportunities for students later in life."
Minnetonka not only increased participation, but also increased the number of students honored through the AP Program.
A record 37 MHS students from the graduating classes of 2012 and 2013 earned the National AP Scholar Award for successfully completing eight or more AP exams with an average score of four or higher during high school. A total of 329 Minnetonka students were recognized in 2012 with AP Scholar Awards. Many of these students enter college with sophomore standing.
“We applaud the extraordinary efforts of the devoted teachers and administrators in this district, who are fostering rigorous work worth doing. These educators have not only expanded student access to AP course work, but they have enabled more of their students to achieve on a college level—which is helping to create a strong college-going culture,” said College Board President, David Coleman.
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 districts are experimenting with a variety of initiatives and strategies to determine how to expand access and improve student performance simultaneously.
“We know that by the end of fifth grade, the average Minnetonka students reads at an eleventh grade level nationally," Superintendent Peterson said. "It only goes to reason that the majority of our students will have a strong foundation for the challenge of AP or IB courses, if they chose to take them. We have very high success rates.”
Inclusion on the 3rd Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on the examination of three years of AP data, from 2010 to 2012, for the following criteria:
• Increase participation/access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, at least 6 percent in medium districts and at least 11 percent in small districts;
• Ensure that the percentage of African American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaska Native students taking AP Exams did not decrease by more than 5 percent for large and medium districts or by more than 10 percent for small districts;
• Improve performance levels when comparing the percentage of students in 2012 scoring a 3 or higher to those in 2010, unless the district has already attained a performance level in which more than 70 percent of the AP students are scoring a 3 or higher.
The complete 3rd Annual AP District Honor Roll can be found here.