RENO, NV - When compared to 10 years ago, a greater percentage of Nevada's high school students are taking advanced placement classes. More Nevada high school students these days are also passing those advanced placement exams. That's the word coming from the College Board, which says almost 17% of 2013 graduates in the Silver State scored high enough to get college credit.
Reno High School Senior Maddie Eckert says during her high school career she's taken a total of nine AP classes.
They include English, physics, and math.
She's taken AP exams as well, and passed them.
It all means she's getting college credit for the classes, and will enter a university next year as a sophomore. So why don't more high schoolers take AP classes?
“The kids who have been in GT programs for their whole lives, of course they are going to go into AP. But for students who haven't been there might be something like in the back of their minds that says oh no you are not ready for that. You are not meant to be there or something like that. I'm not absolutely sure,” says Eckert.
Ten years ago, only about ten-percent of Nevada's high school students took AP classes.
Last year that number was up to nearly 17%---still below the national average, however, of 20%.
But here in Washoe County, the numbers are more encouraging.
Washoe County students made up 27% of those taking AP exams statewide.
Consider Washoe County only makes up 15% of the state's school population.
County school superintendent Pedro Martinez says awareness about AP classes needs to start not in high school, but in middle school.
Once in high school, students should be encouraged to take just one AP class their sophomore year.
“And a lot of times parents just don't know. You know many of our parents here are first generation. Many of our children are first generation, first to graduate from high school, first to go to college and so it's a lot of information. And we are doing our parenting university for example, that often talks about college readiness. We talk about these things,” says Martinez.
The district has a goal by 2016: That is an 80% graduation rate.
Martinez has another goal: 50% of seniors having taken at least one AP class and passed the exam.