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Amherst and South Hadley school districts named to national AP honor roll

KUDOS: The Amherst Regional and South Hadley public school districts were among 539 districts in the U.S. and Canada and 46 statewide recently named to The College Board’s AP District Honor Roll.

Both school districts met the criteria for the third annual honor roll by expanding access to Advanced Placement courses and maintaining or improving the percentage of students scoring a passing 3 or higher on the AP tests.

“It’s not easy to increase participation and performance at the same time,” said Potoula Chresomales, executive director for AP program development at The College Board in a recent telephone interview. “We applaud these districts for meeting all of the performance criteria.”

To make the honor roll, districts had to increase access to AP courses by between 4 percent and 11 percent, depending on their size; maintain participation rates of African-American students and other minority groups in AP; and maintain or improve performance levels for the percentage of students scoring 3 or higher on last year’s AP tests.

Northampton, a district that has been recognized by other organizations for the percentage of students participating in AP, met all the performance goals for the College Board’s honor roll, but did not meet the 11 percent growth target for last year, Chresomales said.

The College Board reports that Massachusetts has more school districts on this year’s AP honor roll than any other state. Chresomales credited state education policy and the Massachusetts Math and Science Initiative, a grant-funded effort to expand participation in AP, with boosting the state’s standing.

Studies show students who take AP courses do better in college and are more likely to major in science and math, she said.

— BARBARA SOLOW

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