The San Ramon Valley Unified School District again finds itself in elite company nationwide for its high school students’ performances on yearly Advanced Placement exams.
The district was recently honored by the College Board with a spot on the seventh annual AP District Honor Roll, becoming one of just four districts in the United States to earn the distinction in all seven years of the award program, district officials announced earlier this month.
“We are excited and humbled to be honored with this prestigious award,” Rick Schmitt, the district’s first-year superintendent, said in a statement.
“The passion to excel and ambition of our students, paired with the hard work, dedication and talent of our staff, is truly what makes this accomplishment possible,” he added. “We are thrilled to be one of four in the nation to earn this prestigious award for seven years in a row.”
To earn the distinction, SRVUSD had to increase the number of students participating in AP while also increasing or maintaining the number of students earning AP exam scores of 3 or higher over a three-year-period.
According to district officials, 87.21% of SRVUSD students who took AP exams in 2015-16 earned a 3 or higher on the tests -- marks needed on the 5-point exams to receive credit or advanced placement at many colleges and universities.
That represented a slight decrease from 2014-15 performance, when district officials reported 88.94% of local students who took AP exams scored 3 or higher.
For this year, SRVUSD was one of 433 school districts in the U.S. and Canada named to the AP District Honor Roll.
The list was compiled based on a review of three years of AP data, from 2014 to 2016, looking across 37 AP exams with an eye on specific criteria, according to the SRVUSD.
Districts had to:
• Increase participation/access to AP by at least 4% in large districts, at least 6% in medium districts and at least 11% in small districts.
• Increase or maintain the percentage of exams taken by black/African-American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native students who scored 3 or higher on at least one AP exam.
• Improve or maintain performance levels when comparing the 2016 percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher to the 2014 percentage, unless the district has already attained a performance level at which more than 70% of its AP students earn a 3 or higher.
National data from 2016 show that among black/African-American, Hispanic and Native American students with a high degree of readiness for AP, only about half are participating, according to district officials.
“The first step to getting more of these students to participate is to give them access. Courses must be made available, gatekeeping must stop, and doors must be equitably opened,” officials said.
“SRVUSD is committed to expanding the availability of AP courses among prepared and motivated students of all backgrounds,” they added.