More students at Evanston Township High School earned scores of 3 or higher on Advanced Placement exams last year (1,480) than took AP courses in 2010 (1,384), the District 202 Board learned Monday night.

In a presentation led by Peter Bavis, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, the board was told that not only are more students of all racial and ethnic categories enrolling in AP classes, but their success record is rising as well.

Nationally, for example, one out of five high school graduates have earned a grade of 3 or better on an AP course, while at ETHS, half of the students have achieved that mark, Bavis said.

In the last three years, he said, there has been a 30 percent increase in AP enrollments, from 681 to 880, and a 47 percent increase in exam scores of 3 or higher, from 1,008 to 1,480.

In the “success” area, Bavis added, all student categories experienced an increase in 3-plus scores on at least one exam, with African-American students increasing by 62 percent, Hispanic students by 74 percent, and white students by 25 percent.

Board members were ecstatic at hearing the news.

“There are a lot of wonderful things happening at ETHS,” said member Jonathan Baum, “but this is one of the most wonderful.”

He called it “a model for everything we’re doing here.”

Mark Metz said “it is so gratifying to see this kind of payoff.”

And Bill Geiger said “this is not a program; it is a culture change that is about the whole school.”

He recommended that “every parent, every future parent, and every Evanston taxpayer be required to read the report.”

Bavis said the administration is attempting to verify the degree to which AP students succeed in college and careers after leaving the high school. Board members encouraged him to do that.

In the report, Bavis noted that at ETHS, some 93 percent of students who complete at least one AP course enroll in college the fall immediately following high school graduation, but he noted, also, in his remarks to the board, that the skills learned in taking AP classes also are valuable to those students who do not go on to college.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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