More Beaufort County School District students are taking Advanced Placement exams and scoring higher on them.
Nearly half of all students who took AP courses during the 2012-13 school year scored high enough to earn college credit, according to a district news release.
The number of students taking the college-level courses and exams has also increased dramatically during the past five years, district spokesman Jim Foster said.
Last school year, high school students across the district took 1,712 AP exams -- nearly 30 percent more than the 1,326 exams taken the previous year and almost double the 966 exams taken in 2009.
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"We are very excited that the number of students taking AP courses and exams have gone up and that student performance in those courses and on those exams has also gone up," superintendent Jeffrey Moss said.
AP courses and exams, offered by the College Board, let students earn college credit while still in high school. Students must score a 3 or better on the tests' five-point scale to qualify for college credit.
Forty-seven percent of Beaufort County AP students scored high enough on the 2013 exams to earn credit, according to the district. That is a slight dip from 50 percent in the 2011-12 school year, but up from 44 percent five years ago.
Bluffton High had the highest percentage of students -- 65 percent -- earning a score of 3 or higher.
"There is no doubt our AP teachers are doing a great job," Bluffton High principal Mark Dievendorf said. "But these results speak equally as strongly for the preparation of every other teacher in the building who helped get students ready for AP- and college-level work."
Hilton Head Island High was the only school that saw a decline from five years ago in the percentage of students scoring high enough for college credit. Principal Amanda O'Nan attributed the decrease to the school's increased focus on and success with its international baccalaureate program.
Whale Branch Early College High offers college courses through its partnership with the Technical College of the Lowcountry, rather than AP courses.
Follow reporter Sarah Bowman at twitter.com/IPBG_Sarah.