Bluffton High School’s Advanced Placement scores last spring place the school among the state’s top performers, the College Board reported Tuesday.
Of the 402 exams taken by 230 Bluffton High students in 2017, 274 AP tests scored three or above, about a 68 percent passing rate.
Students must score a 3 or better on the Advanced Placement tests' five-point scale to qualify for credit with most colleges.
Of South Carolina’s 168 public high schools that took AP exams in 2017, Bluffton High tied with Greenville’s Maudlin High for the 26th highest passing rate.
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Four of the district’s high schools lag behind the statewide 57 percent passage rate.
May River High, Beaufort High, Hilton Head Island High and Battery Creek High schools all fell below the statewide passage rate with respective scores of 55, 46, 39 and 20 percentage of exams scoring a three or above.
The district’s overall passing rate, 54 percent, is slightly below last year’s all-time high of 55 percent, but an improvement from a 48 percent passing rate five years ago, according to the district.
Superintendent Jeff Moss said in a news release that fewer students are taking AP courses because more are taking advantage of “dual enrollment” courses that also allow them to earn college credits while still in high school through partnerships with colleges and universities. For example, Whale Branch Early College High offers college courses through its partnership with the Technical College of the Lowcountry rather than offering AP courses through the College Board.
“Either way you look at it – whether it’s dual enrollment or AP courses – our students are setting higher standards for themselves, and that’s certainly encouraging,” Moss said.
South Carolina’s 57 percent passage rate was one percentage point above the national average. The number of students taking exams statewide increased 8.6 percent to almost 31,000 students, according to an S.C. Department of Education news release.
“Our continued success on these rigorous college and career readiness assessments is the result of the hard work and preparation of students, parents and educators,” state superintendent Molly Spearman said in the release.