High schools honored for AP performance, participation

Jackson County and East Jackson comprehensive high schools were among those recognized by the Georgia Department of Education today for success in Advanced Placement exam performance and participation.

JCCHS was one of just 70 high schools in Georgia named to the College Board’s 2020 AP Schools of Distinction list; EJCHS was one of 183 named to the 2020 STEM Schools list, according to information from GaDOE.

Schools of Distinction are those with at least 20% of the total student population taking AP exams and at least 50% of all AP exams earning scores of 3 or higher. STEM Schools have a minimum of five students testing in at least four AP STEM courses, which include AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2, AP Physics C, AP Computer Science A, AP Computer Science Principles.

“It’s always good to see our schools being recognized for their achievement and high performance,” said Todd Nickelsen, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, when the information was presented to the Jackson County Board of Education at its monthly work session Feb. 7. He noted that it was not the first time students’ AP performance and participation had been acknowledged. “But it’s impressive that our students are continuing to improve and our teachers are encouraging our students to performat at higher levels.”

Nickelsen said the recognition was “100 percent a reflection on our teachers and our schools and their dedication to their students. Some students might look at the work and declare that it looked difficult, he said, but JCSS teachers “make our students want to take these tests — we have kids who persevere.”

The College Board, a non-profit organization founded in 1990, is made up of more than 6,000 educational institutions and is “dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education.” It administers SAT testing and the AP program, which presents college-level work to high school students. The credits earned apply to high school graduation requirements and, in many cases, allow students to earn college credit, as well.

Georgia’s public-school class of 2019 has the 17th-highest AP pass rate in the nation, according to data released by the College Board today.

In Georgia, the percentage of class of 2019 public-school students earning a 3 or higher on an AP exam held steady at 23.2 percent. Georgia students recorded stronger AP performance than most Southern states, scoring higher than their peers in Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

The percentage of low-income AP test-takers who scored 3 or higher increased in Georgia, from 43 percent in 2018 to 43.7 percent in 2019. This figure is based on the performance of students who used an AP exam fee reduction, which states look to as a marker of equitable participation for low-income students.

“I’m proud of Georgia’s students, who continue to record strong performance on Advanced Placement exams and outperform their peers in other Southern states,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. 

“I’m also pleased to see the gains made by economically disadvantaged students in Georgia, as we work to ensure all students receive an excellent education. Ultimately, our goal is to provide rich opportunities for every student in our state – from advanced coursework like AP to the fine arts, world languages, career exploratory courses, and more.”

Overall, 40.5 percent of Georgia’s class of 2019 took an AP exam while in high school. This is the 15th-highest AP participation rate in the nation. 30.4 percent of Georgia’s class of 2019 test-takers used an AP exam fee reduction.

Click the underlined links to view, download or print a copy of the College Board AP Cohort State Report or the College Board AP COhort Data Report.

The Jackson County School System served approximately 8,400 students in Pre-K through 12th grade in 10 schools across the county. For more information, call the central office at 706-367-5151.