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Tucson Unified makes College Board's AP Honor Roll for gains

Principals, students, teachers credited with earning achievement

AP Award

Tucson Unified School District is one of 425 school districts in the U.S. and Canada honored by the College Board with placement on the 6th Annual AP®District Honor Roll for increasing access to AP course work while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams.

Reaching these goals indicates that a district is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are ready for the opportunity of AP. To be included on the 6th Annual Honor Roll, Tucson USD had to, since 2013, increase the number of students participating in AP while also increasing or maintaining the number of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher.

"We are very excited to announce that our students are doing amazing work," Dr. H.T. Sánchez, Tucson Unified School District's superintendent, said. "A lot of people are fixated on the AZ Merit and state accountability system. I've always felt that if you want a true measure of high school excellence, you need to take a look at how many kids are taking AP classes. You need to take a look at how many kids are scoring 3s, 4s and 5s in AP classes. We are just very thrilled that our students aren't just in the classes but they are succeeding in the classes and our principals are making it a priority."

National data from 2015 shows that among black/African American, Hispanic, and Native American students with a high degree of readiness for AP, only about half of students are participating. The first step to delivering the opportunity of AP to students is providing access by ensuring courses are available, that gatekeeping stops, and that the doors are equitably opened so these students can participate. Tucson Unified is committed to expanding the availability of AP courses among prepared and motivated students of all backgrounds.

In 2014, the district had 5,381 students enrolled in AP classes. Of those, 3,051 were minority students. In 2016, the district had 5,759 students enrolled in AP classes. Of those, 3,205 were minority students.

"That the committed teachers and administrators in this district have both expanded AP access and also helped their students achieve high levels of performance on AP Exams shows they're delivering opportunity in their schools and classrooms, and it is a real testament to their belief that a more diverse population of young people is ready for the challenge of college," said Trevor Packer, the College Board's senior vice president of AP and Instruction. "Congratulations to these teachers and administrators, and to their hard-working students."

Helping more students learn at a higher level and earn higher AP scores is an objective of all members of the AP community, from AP teachers to district and school administrators to college professors. Many districts are experimenting with a variety of initiatives and strategies to determine how to simultaneously expand access and improve student performance.

In 2015, more than 3,800 colleges and universities around the world received AP scores for college credit, advanced placement, and/or consideration in the admission process, with many colleges and universities in the United States offering credit in one or more subjects for qualifying AP scores.

Inclusion on the 6th Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on the examination of three years of AP data, from 2013 to 2015, looking across 34 AP Exams, including world language and culture. The following criteria were used.
Districts must:

Increase participation/access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, at least 6 percent in medium districts, and at least 11 percent in small districts;TUSD College Board's 6th Annual AP District Honor Roll
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 2015 percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher to the 2013 percentage, unless the district has already attained a performance level at which more than 70 percent of its AP students are scoring a 3 or higher.

When these outcomes have been achieved among an AP student population in which 30 percent or more are underrepresented minority students (black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native) and/or 30 percent or more are low-income students (students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch), a symbol has been affixed to the district name to highlight this work.

For a complete list of districts being recognized, please see the 6th Annual AP® District Honor Roll (in PDF).

Watch the live announcement of this recognition below!