Bulldog’s AP scores highest in MCPS, nation

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By Lara Fu and Manisha Singh

Of CHS’ 2011 graduates, 82.8 percent scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam, making CHS the school with the highest scores in MCPS and Maryland.

MCPS high schools as a whole ranked first in Maryland and the entire nation in 2011 for AP examination participation and performance.

According to a memorandum Superintendent Joshua Starr sent to the Board of Education, the school with the second highest percentage is Whitman HS, with 78.5 percent of their graduates scoring a 3 or higher. Data comparing 2012 AP scores in MCPS has not yet been released.

“We have an incredibly excellent teaching staff that is passionate about what they do,” Principal Joan Benz said. “Their classes involve a lot of rigor which prepares students for tests, and we have students who are very motivated to be successful.”

According to Starr’s memorandum, MCPS students, who make up the largest percentage of students in Maryland, accounted for 32.3 percent of all Maryland high school graduates who scored a 3 or higher on an AP exam.

AP NSL teacher Matthew Schilling credits the high scores to both the students and teachers.

“As great as the teachers are, I think the students in this school make us look even better than how hard we already work,” Schilling said. “It’s a great combination.”

According to AP Chemistry teacher Jodi Boppana, whose AP score average this past year was 4.7, the highest in her five years of teaching AP Chemistry, the key to success on AP exams is hard work.

“I think the most important strategies include group work, being available, and reviewing at least a month and a half before the AP,” Boppana said.

Benz has noticed many CHS teachers arriving early and staying late to offer help to students before and after school.

AP Chinese Language teacher Yih Lee offers different strategies to help students increase their AP scores.

“I see myself as a facilitator by providing students a lot of opportunities for practice,” Lee said. “Teachers should allow students the ability to improve on their own first rather than being dependent on the teacher.”

According to senior Adrianna Lee, who took four APs, taking several practice tests in class helped prepare her for the AP exams.

“They simulated test conditions and my practice scores gave me an idea of how much more work I needed to do to get a good score,” Lee said.

According to Lee, Boppana and Schilling, the best thing for students to do is invest time into preparing for the AP. Their own study habits and commitment to the class has a greater influence on their outcome in May.

“Work very, very hard and definitely take advantage of your teacher’s time,” Boppana said. “Don’t slack off.”