FORSYTH COUNTY — In a state that outpaced the nation in growth for both participation and passing rates on Advanced Placement exams, Forsyth County students ranked in the top tier of their peers.
According to figures released by the Georgia Department of Education, the Forsyth County school system scored higher than all but three districts in the state on the May administration of AP exams, and two high schools — South Forsyth and Lambert — ranked in the top 10 of 445 statewide.
At South, 1,115 test students took 1,978 AP exams, 1,530 of which received passing marks (3, 4 or 5, which are the scores needed to gain credit at most colleges). That number of passing scores was the fifth-highest in the state.
Lambert had 997 students take 1,807 exams. Of those exams, 1,356 passed, marking the ninth-highest number of such scores in Georgia.
The system’s other high schools scored well, too. West ranked 17th in the state, with 1,093 passing exams. North students passed 594 exams, earning a ranking of 35th, and Central came in at 57th, with 397 passing exams.
“We are very proud of our student’s achievement on the AP course tests,” said Kelly Price, the district’s director of academic standards. “Forsyth County students continue to seek the rigorous coursework of a variety of [AP] courses … As we advance into the new school year, we have noticed an additional increase in AP course enrollment for the 2014-2015 school year.”
Throughout the state, more students took and passed AP exams in 2014 than last year. According to a state education department news release, 89,806 students took 154,176 exams, which is an 8 percent increase in participants and an 8.9 percent rise in the number of exams taken. Passing scores increased by 9.6 percent, to a total of 86,075.
Nationwide, the number of test-takers increased by 5.6 percent, and the number of passing scores increased by 6.3 percent, according to the release.
“No matter which metric you examine, Georgia’s performance is improving on Advanced Placement exams, which is excellent news because it means more students are taking advantage of the opportunity to access rigorous, college-level coursework and gain credit toward post-secondary education,” said State Superintendent John Barge in a statement.
“I am thrilled to see participation and scores going up across the board in Georgia, and among every minority group reported by the College Board. We know that our top students are competitive nationally, now it’s time to expand that opportunity to all Georgia students.”
Participation and scores have “risen steadily” in the last five years, according to the education department.
In 2009-10, students statewide took 118,367 AP exams. That rose to 120,706 in 2010-11, 132,266 in 2011-12 and 141,528 last year.
There were 62,313 passing scores in the state in 2009-10. That climbed to 65,818 in 2010-11, 74,077 in 2011-12 and 78,543 in 2012-13.