More Harford County teens are gaining college credit before they even graduate high school.
Harford County Public Schools saw a jump in participation in Advanced Placement classes and testing in 2012. Students take AP classes to prepare them for competitive standardized tests. If students meet requirements set by their college of choice, these tests translate into college credit.
The tests require a fee, which generally is paid for by the student, however it costs significantly less than college credits later on.
While total Harford County high school enrollment remained steady, participation in Advanced Placement, or AP, assessments increased about 20 percent from 1,525 students in 2011, to 1,824 students in 2012, according to a release from the school system.
Sixty-four percent of AP exams given in Harford County scored at "college mastery level," the release states. The number was more than a four percent increase over 2011 scores and remained in keeping with the state and nation as a whole.
These scores coincided with an increase in overall enrollment in AP courses to 4,591—a 12 percent increase over 2011, the release states. There were also about 27 percent more AP tests given in Harford County schools in 2012 when compared to 2011, according to the school system.
As for the SAT, or Scholastic Aptitude Test, participation held steady. Student overall performance improved four points in mathematics (516), remained the same in writing (481) and decreased in critical reading (503) when compared to 2011 scores.
These mean scores, however, exceed the state and the nation in critical reading and mathematics, but are slightly behind in writing (481 as opposed to 488).
"College Readiness Coordinators in every high school work with faculty to promote high expectations for all students," said Keri Guilbault, coordinator of accelerated programs, in a prepared statement. "SAT and AP prep courses, after-school tutoring, summer readiness programs and family engagement have contributed to our students’ success."
Individual school data can be found under online school profiles, accessible through the school system's website.