The percentage of District 86 graduates who took at least one AP course during their high school career hit an all-time high in 2012, according to a presentation made by district staff Monday, as Hinsdale Central set its all-time mark and Hinsdale South came close.
At Central, 68 percent of the graduating class of 2012 took an AP course, an all-time high for that school, while 61 percent took at least one such course at South, one percent below its all-time high of 62 percent reached with the 2011 graduating class.
The number of 2012 South graduates who took an AP class is up 13 points from 2008, however, when 48 percent had taken one of the college-level courses.
Hinsdale Central’s participation is up from 64 percent in 2011 and 59 percent in 2008.
Combining the figures from the two schools, 66 percent of all District 86 graduates in 2012 took an AP class, up from 63 percent in 2011 and 55 percent in 2008.
Of all the 2012 District 86 graduates that enrolled in an AP class, 87 percent went on to take at least one AP test. That percentage hasn’t changed in the last three years, but is down from 89 percent in 2008.
At the building level, 89 percent of 2012 Central graduates who took an AP course also took an AP test, while 84 percent of 2012 South graduates who took a course also took a test.
According to the district’s presentation, which took place at Monday’s Committee of the Whole board meeting at Hinsdale South, District 86’s combined 2012 graduating class took a total of 3,254 AP tests—2,052 by Central students, and 1,202 by South students.
That total number is up from 2011, when the graduating class had taken a total of 2,681 tests, and up even more from 2008, when 2,363 tests were taken—1,509 at Central and 854 at South.
The 2012 graduating classes at Central and South were both well above the national AP test pass rate, though their combined pass rate was down slightly from recent years.
Across the country in 2012, 53 percent of AP tests received a passing grade of 3 or higher. Of the 3,254 total tests taken by the class of 2012, 84 percent received a passing grade. In 2011, that rate was 85 percent and it was 88 percent in 2008.
Seventy-three percent of the tests taken by 2012 South graduates got a passing grade, down from 78 percent by the 2011 class and 83 percent by the 2008 class. Central’s pass rate increased from 90 to 91 percent between the classes of 2011 and 2012. The 2008 Central pass rate was 90 percent, as well.
Hinsdale South assistant principal for curriculum Arwen Pokorny Lyp, who presented the AP data along with assistant principal John Bruesch of Hinsdale Central, said the general trend across the country is as AP participation rises, pass rates fall slightly.
“We’ve seen that, but barely,” Pokorny Lyp said of the years since 2008. “So we’re very, very proud of that fact.”
Superintendent Nick Wahl called the relatively steady pass rates from 2008 to 2012 “truly remarkable.”
“Keeping that [pass rate] stable while increasing the number of students in the courses and taking the tests is just an amazing statistic,” Wahl said.
The AP numbers were presented as part of the district’s larger academic dashboard, which is presented each year and is meant to show the progress of the most recent graduating class through its four years in the district.