DeSoto, Booneville and Stone County school districts are three of 433 school districts in the U.S. and Canada to be recognized for increasing access to Advanced Placement (AP) courses and increasing the number of students scoring well on AP exams.

The Mississippi Department of Education announced the three districts were placed on the 7th Annual AP (Advanced Placement) District Honor Roll by the nonprofit College Board.

“The leaders and teachers in DeSoto, Booneville and Stone County school districts are to be commended for expanding student access to AP courses,” said Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “AP classes expose students to college-level material and help them understand what is expected to be successful in college.”

To be placed on the Honor Roll, districts must not only increase the number of students participating in AP courses but also increase or maintain the number of students earning AP exam scores of 3 or higher.

Mississippi ranks near the bottom nationally in AP participation, but it is making strides. The number of students taking AP exams increased by 23.1 percent from the 2014-2015 school year to 2015-2016. Mississippi students students took 12,455 AP exams last school year.

The number of students scoring a 3 or higher increased about 11 percent to 3,707.

Founded in 1900, the College Board is a not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity through programs and services in college readiness and college success.

To be placed on the AP Honor Roll, districts must:

  • Increase participation/access to AP by at least four percent in large districts, at least six percent in medium districts, and at least 11 percent in small districts;
  • Increase or maintain the percentage of exams taken by black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native students; and
  • Improve or maintain performance levels when comparing the 2016 percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher to the 2014 percentage, unless the district has already attained a performance level at which more than 70 percent of its AP students earn a 3 or higher.

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Kate Royals is a Jackson native and returned to Mississippi Today as the lead education reporter after serving in the same capacity from 2016 to 2018. Prior to that, she was a reporter for the Clarion-Ledger covering education and state government. She won awards for her investigative work, including stories about the state’s campaign finance laws and prison system. She was a news producer at MassLive in Springfield, Mass., after graduating from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communications with a master’s degree in communications.