The significantly higher scores posted by students at Columbus East and North high schools on Advancement Placement tests can be seen as an endorsement of a pro-active approach by faculty members and the students themselves in preparing them for an accelerated college experience.
Numerous local students have taken advantage of the opportunity to take college credit courses before they have even graduated from high school, thus lowering their expenses while at the same time potentially reducing the amount of time they might have to spend on a college campus.
AP scores in the range of three to five on a five-point scale can earn the students college credit.
This year, the students who posted scores of three to five exceeded 60 percent at both schools.
At North, 65 percent of the students qualified to earn college credit as opposed to 58 percent last year. The jump was even more dramatic at East, where the the rate rose from 46 to 60 percent.
The College Board-administered tests are intended to determine if students are ready for college-level coursework in different disciplines such as calculus, biology, chemistry, geography, languages, music and computer science.
Scores of four and five on the AP test in any category earn students full college credit in related courses at any Indiana college.
A score of three generally earns a college elective credit, which counts toward the number of credits a student needs to graduate but not toward specific classes.
The results this year are clear evidence that more students are recognizing the wisdom not only in pursuing postsecondary degrees but in availing themselves of opportunities to facilitate the process.
At North, more students than at any time in the past five years are taking Advanced Placement courses to prepare. There were 326 AP students in the AP course in the last school year, a jump from the 173 enrolled in the 2008-09 school year.
At East the number of students who took the test this year dropped to 330 from the 393 last year but that 330 total is still higher than it was in the previous three years.
Students, assisted by teachers, are also putting in extra efforts in preparing for the tests. Students are using periods before and after school each day to gather in groups for cooperative study sessions on particular subjects such as calculus. Teachers are on hand during these extracurricular sessions to work with the students on problems.
Opportunities such as those offered by this AP program can open doors to successful careers.
The good news is that a number of young people in this community are taking advantage of them.