The students at Orange County Schools that enrolled in Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Project Lead the Way courses took a total of 1,042 advanced exams in the 2016-17 school year.
They passed 64.1 percent of those exams, continuing an increasing pattern from the 2015-16 school year (63.1 percent pass rate) from the 2014-15 school year (62.1 percent). The IB diploma recipients graduated with an average weighted grade point average of 5.07, up from 4.84 in 2016, marking the largest jump in GPA since at least 2012.
“With Cedar Ridge, the pass rate for AP is 65.1 percent, and for IB it is 70.5 percent,” said Jason Johnson, the director of secondary instruction for OCS. “At Orange High School, the AP pass rate is 56.8 percent. With that said, the North Carolina pass rate for AP exams is roughly 52 percent, and the national average is around 56 percent.”
But the students in these programs are also considerably more white than the rest of the school, a fact which greatly troubles the OCS Board of Education and was the main focus of an annual report on advanced coursework at the Board's Oct. 23 meeting.
“Our baseline benchmark as we're trying to increase access to our courses is the demographics of our school,” said Jake Henry, OCS’ chief academic officer. “If 27 percent of Cedar Ridge's population is Hispanic, then our baseline goal for our representation is that 27 percent of our AP and IB enrollment would be Hispanic as well.”