Surprising results for York County districts on AP Honor Roll


A school district that historically has had some of the lowest test scores in Pennsylvania is among only two York County schools to receive a top honor from the College Board.

The nonprofit recently released its 10th annual AP Honor Roll, based on data from 2017 to 2019 that recognizes school districts for both increasing access to Advanced Placement courses to underrepresented students and increasing the percentage of students earning a score of 3 or higher.

Of the 250 districts recognized in the U.S. and Canada, 26 were from the state and only two were from York County.

York Suburban Superintendent Timothy Williams, on Monday, Dec. 16, noted that his district was one of them.

“The other school may surprise you — it’s York City,” he said.

More:Several York County districts consistently fall short on test scores

Notably the district in the county with the lowest achievement scores on standardized tests, York City made the honor roll for the first time this year.

William Penn Senior High School Principal Brandon Carter said more than 200 students, primarily in grades 11 and 12, are enrolled in AP courses — and more and more students can do the work and are looking for more rigor. 

York Suburban went from 90 students taking 131 AP exams with 84.4% earning a 3 or higher in 2017 to 147 students taking 210 exams with 86.4% earning a 3 or higher in 2019, Williams noted in an email.

Advanced Placement courses give students college-level curriculum in high school, allowing them to earn college credit and placement, according to the College Board.

"It's a huge deal," said York City Superintendent Andrea Berry. "We are definitely on the right track."

York City Superintendent Andrea Berry holds up a banner Wednesday, Dec. 18, recognizing the district's high school for making College Board's AP Honor Roll for the first time --  an distinction only given to two York County schools this year.

A College Board news release in February said the number of schools participating in Advanced Placement has grown during the past 10 years, with 65% more graduates who have taken an AP exam and 63% more who have scored a 3 or higher on at least one exam.

“We see thousands of students who count themselves out when it’s time to take the exam,” said College Board CEO David Coleman, in the release.

In the 2018-19 school year, the College Board piloted fall registration for AP, which greatly increased diversity, with a 9% increase in low-income students and a 14.2% increase in underserved minorities applying in the fall.

This year, officials from the board noted the AP Program would provide districts with free tools, online exam ordering and fall registration to encourage more students to pursue AP credit.