Students in Oldham County Schools continue to outpace state and national averages for achievement on Advanced Placement exams, according to 2014 results presented to the board of education on Aug. 25.
"It's great to see gains," Brent Deaves, Interim Secondary Level Director, told the board. Deaves showed data that the district not only had more students take exams and had more exams given, but more students also received scores high enough to earn college credit.
Advanced Placement courses are taught by school staff at all three high schools and culminate with an exam in the spring. Exams are scored from 1-5, with most public universities granting credit for a score of 3 or higher.
In 2014, 69 percent of OCS high school students earned a 3 or higher on their exams -- more than 1,000 likely college credits that students will earn. That's above the state "passing" average of 51.5 percent and the national average of 61.3 percent.
Across the district's three high schools, 41.6 percent of students took at least one AP exam. Deaves said when added to the number of students taking other dual credit opportunities, the district's students are earning an extraordinary number of college credits while still in high school.
This year's statistics included 1,552 students who took an AP exam, 2,583 exams taken and 1,045 scores of a 3 or better.
Superintendent Will Wells challenged the district to go to the next level and work to encourage more students in other demographic groups to take AP exams.
"We need to challenge ourselves internally and at each school," he said.
Leslie Robertson, the district's assessment coordinator, added that the district is working to address that issue and is looking to see how many students aren't taking AP courses or the culminating exams due to financial reasons.
"There is a fee waiver for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, but at the high school level many students don't submit that paperwork because of the social stigma," she said.
Robertson also shared new scores for juniors taking the ACT. All Kentucky students are required to take the exam. This year, the district's data shows "not much fluctuation from last year," Robertson said.
The district's composite score across the three schools went up to a 22 from 21.8 last year, compared to the state average of 19.9.
"Science is probably the most exciting area this year," Robertson said. "All three schools show a sharp increase and it is consistent across the district."
Students meeting the science benchmarks increased to 45 percent, up from 34 percent last year. The district also gained in the percentage of students meeting benchmarks in all four tested categories -- English, math, science and reading -- up to 31 percent. That is nearly double the state average of 17 percent.