By mtjulietintern

Wilson County Schools officials announced Friday more than 800 students scored a 3 or higher on Advanced Placement exams during the last school year, which made the courses eligible for college credit. 

It was an increase of 169 from the previous year. Wilson County students also increased in both participation rates and the number of students who scored a 3 or better on at least one AP exam. The percentage of students who participated in an Advanced Placement exam increased by 10 percent from the previous year. 

Wilson County offers more than 30 Advanced Placement courses, which give students the chance to begin earning college credit as early as their freshman year. 

“We are proud of our teachers and students in Wilson County,” said Wilson County Schools spokesperson Jennifer Johnson.

AP classes offer students the ability to take college-level course work and earn college credit based on their performance on the national AP exam.

State education Commissioner Candice McQueen said Friday more than 29,000 students statewide took Advanced Placement exams in 2017 – a record high for Tennessee.

In addition, the number of students who scored a 3 or higher, which makes students eligible for college credit at many institutions, increased from 15,065 last year to 16,240 this year. Across Tennessee, students earned as many as 79,833 college credits from the AP results – which is a 54 percent increase since the 2011-12 school year.

AP exams are one of the eight early postsecondary opportunities offered in Tennessee. Data shows students who take at least four early postsecondary opportunities, which also includes IB programs, dual enrollment, dual credit and industry certifications, are more likely to be prepared for college.

“These results show that more Tennessee students are becoming better equipped for their next step after high school – which is great news for their future and the future of our state,” McQueen said. “The more that students can take rigorous courses in high school, the better prepared they will be when they enter postsecondary. That’s why it’s critical that we see both increased success on AP exams and increased access to allow more students the opportunity to take them.”

Statewide, 29,258 Tennessee students took 48,355 AP tests in 2017 – about 3,500 more exams than were taken last year – and the most popular subject areas are English language and composition and U.S. history.

Several districts also had encouraging results. In Franklin County, Maryville City, Collierville City and Kingsport City Schools, more than 70 percent of AP exams taken earned a 3 or higher. Participation also increased across districts. Williamson County Schools had the most students participate this year with 4,902, about 500 more students than participated last year. Marshall County had the largest percent increase in students taking at least one AP exam, almost three times its participation from the previous year. Lincoln County, Johnson City and Gibson County Special School District also had a more than 50 percent increase in students taking at least one AP exam.

By Jared Felkins

jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com