Loudoun Students Show Improvements on AP Exams

The rate at which Loudoun County public school students passed Advanced Placement exams outpaced their peers at the state level, according to results released this week.

All but three high schools—Park View and Dominion in Sterling and Loudoun Valley in Purcellville—exceeded the AP pass rate for the state, 63 percent. Stone Bridge High School achieved the highest pass rate of 80 percent.

The overall AP pass rate for Loudoun County Public Schools improved from 67 percent during the 2014-15 academic year to 69 percent for 2015-16. The AP pass rate increased as LCPS increased the number of AP tests taken from 13,982 in 2014-15 to 15,076 in 2015-16.

The pass rate and number of students tested for each high school is as follows:

Briar Woods, 651 test takers, 75 percent passed;

Broad Run, 615 test takers, 76 percent passed;

John Champe, 485 test takers, 67 percent passed;

Dominion, 635 test takers, 52 percent passed;

Freedom, 535 test takers, 71 percent passed;

Heritage, 332 test takers, 70 percent passed;

Loudoun County, 545 test takers, 66 percent passed;

Loudoun Valley 463 test takers, 63 percent passed;

Park View, 255 test takers; 55 percent passed;

Potomac Falls, 440 test takers, 75 percent passed;

Riverside, 254 test takers, 66 percent passed;

Rock Ridge, 405 test takers, 77 percent passed;

Stone Bridge, 686 test takers, 80 percent passed;

Tuscarora, 411 tests taken, 67 percent passed;

and Woodgrove, 556 test takers, 69 percent passed.

22 thoughts on “Loudoun Students Show Improvements on AP Exams

  • 2016-10-08 at 12:51 am

    Loudoun Valley had the second worst pass rate in Loudoun. But I’m guessing their students had the highest grade point average in those classes. That’s the “Susan Ross” way of doing business. And it’s why so many folks like Bill Fox and Hornberger wanted to push “dual enrollment” over AP classes. To get credit for an AP, you have to pass a test to demonstrate knowledge. On the other hand, everyone passes dual enrollment, just ask principals like Susan.

    • 2016-10-09 at 9:34 am

      I can answer you question about why have dual enrollment – it is called choice. What is wrong with options for students?

      • 2016-10-10 at 11:53 am

        I think CareerSwitcher is in the running for the irony of the year award. So I suppose you now favor charter “options” and vouchers so kids have a “choice”?

        If dual enrollment courses were rigorous (e.g. a student failed if they either didn’t try or didn’t learn the material), then fine. Otherwise, we are just giving students a taste of what most liberal arts or education degrees colleges are these days. Grade inflation factories and diploma mills.

        The real world isn’t like that. If we believe the goal is to give kids pieces of paper that can fool a future employer, then CareerSwitcher you are correct, dual enrollment courses are fine. If the goal is to actually teach them knowledge and skills they can use, AP courses are far superior.

  • 2016-10-10 at 3:45 pm

    Hey, SGP. Have you looked at an actual dual enrollment class? You generalizations here are extreme and without connection to reality. You accusation that students who choose dual enrollment are unprepared for college life and courses is without merit. You seem to base you opinion simply on the title of the course, not on any discussion with teachers or students.

    • 2016-10-10 at 6:58 pm

      Here is what I know based on news articles of the program, promo clips by LCPS, and comments of LCSB members.

      1. There is no final exam that students must pass to obtain credit.

      2. While about 30% of the AP students do not pass, I am unaware of a single student who has not passed a dual enrollment course in LCPS. Please give the full data if you have it. Or maybe you can FOIA LCPS.

      3. The instructors are high school teachers, not college faculty. Now, I’m not saying that we can’t have good high school teachers, just that this is not a “college course” taught at the high school level.

      Bottom line, many students “pass” the high school AP course but fail the AP test because the national test has standards (something Susan Ross of LVHS doesn’t believe in). For dual enrollment, if they fail the college course, they also fail the high school course and receive no credit. Thus, the teachers never fail them and the students get college credit regardless of their performance. I’m sure you believe this is a “feature” and not a flaw in the system.

      • 2016-10-12 at 10:04 am

        here is what you should know: to teach a dual enrollment course, teachers need a masters in their content area. That means, with this masters and their general education training, dual enrollment teachers have more training, experience, and skills that many adjunct college instructors. Also they must teach according to a dual enrollment syllabus approved by NOVA. So, if are concerned about the content of a course, you complaint should be with NOVA, not LCPS. Of course, before you complain to NOVA, perhaps you could research the topic.

        With your lack of knowledge and experience and your poor judgement, there any wonder why so many oppose you as being the spokesperson for all things LCPS and the judge of who is a good or bad teacher?

        • 2016-10-12 at 12:05 pm

          CareerSwitcher is refusing to accept peer-reviewed research that shows dual enrollment courses taught in the high school have zero effect, that’s zero folks, on the outcomes of students.

          CareerSwitcher provides no data whatsoever on the outcomes of LCPS students. We heard from LCSB members that the pass rates (or rather grade inflation) of dual enrollment courses are much higher.

          Are you suggesting that AP teachers are not qualified? Are you suggesting that they are poor teachers because their students can’t pass a simple AP test? What exactly are you suggesting about your peers who teach AP courses in LCPS, CareerSwitcher?

    • 2016-10-12 at 10:41 am

      Let’s understand the “scholarly” approach of CareerSwitcher. He says “I have no data whatsoever. Despite being completely unqualified to say anything, I will just challenge everyone else to ‘prove’ their comments first. Nobody on my side ever has data or research to prove anything but hey, I’m a teacher. That’s what we do”

      Regardless of CareerSwitcher’s inability to conduct basic research, we see that dual enrollment courses taught in the high school have no, yes that’s zero, effect on the outcomes of students. That is true whether they take all DE classes in the high school or just some of them. (p23-26) That contrasts with positive outcomes for AP courses which are all taught at the high school.

      Furthermore, while DE is linked to higher community college enrollment rates, AP courses show 3x the rate of 4-yr college enrollment (Table 4, column 4) and have higher rates of bachelor’s degrees obtained (Table 4, columns 7-9).

      But we are really talking about our advanced students here and what’s best for them. In table 5, we see that for the top 25% of students, AP courses have 5x the effect that DE courses have on 4-yr college enrollment and for the students in the 50-75% quartile, the effect is 3x that of DE.

      Bottom line is best expressed by the CEO of the Texas Association of Business: “If a teacher has 25 kids in the class, they’re not going to fail 80 percent, which is effectively what’s happening with an AP course. So, all these kids are passing and then they’re going on to a two or four-year school and finding they don’t count for their major or finding they don’t count at all in terms of building a foundation for them to be successful in the post-secondary sitting.”

      But go ahead CareerSwitcher, go ahead and spew that nonsense.

      • 2016-10-12 at 11:09 am

        OH,SGP – silly you. Failing an AP class and not passing the AP test are not the same thing. Some students don’t even take the AP exam. Some take it very seriously. Some take it but don’t count on the results. Many students will have to take placement exams once they get to college despite what they score on an AP test. Generally speaking, your generalizations are troubling.

        When you child gets to high school, you will learn that there are many paths for our many students.

        Your basic opposition to dual enrollment course baffles me. Are you saying that LCPS should abandon this practice because AP courses are better for everyone? Are you saying that NOVA should not grant college credit for DE courses? Are you saying that VA colleges should not accept NOVA credits for transfer students? Are you saying LCPS is hurting our kids because they offer DE courses? or are you saying that AP courses and the AP exams are better than DE classes?

        • 2016-10-12 at 12:39 pm

          I am saying that courses with standards are better than courses without standards. Just like it’s practically impossible to fail classes in an education major, folks don’t give those courses any respect. Some students may get some benefit from them but even education major students declare they are woefully unprepared for the classroom.

          The same applies to many liberal arts majors where nobody ever fails as long as they put in some nominal work. Engineering majors are different. There are standards. Students fail when they don’t learn the material.

          The same applies to AP courses. It’s not difficult to get a 3 on an AP exam. Yet, 30% of our students can’t do it. I’m sure that virtually all of them are “passed” in the course by the teachers. Without any data whatsoever, you claim that these same students sat for a multi-hour test but just didn’t try. Ha! No evidence whatsoever and even contrary to common sense but you throw out this nonsense.

          The same inflated stats you cite for DE courses would apply to math/ELA in grades 3-9 if the SOLs were not in place. LCPS would tell us that “everybody passed” with no objective standards like the SOL to tell us differently.

          I am saying:

          1. LCPS should support instruction that is proven to generate positive outcomes. This currently includes AP courses and DE courses taught in a college setting but not DE courses taught in high schools.

          2. If/when DE courses have some objective standard (their own final exam that is objectively measured), then DE courses could be promoted.

          3. LCPS could support DE courses for non-core classes (not math, science, ELA) that lead to middle students enrolling in college. These courses don’t challenge our best and brightest but do defer the costs of associate/bachelors degrees. Many of the degrees are just pieces of paper and the kids don’t retain the material. Jobs unfortunately require these pieces of paper. We shouldn’t be fooled about what’s going on here though. Our brightest students deserve to be challenged.

  • 2016-10-12 at 2:34 pm

    CareerSwitcher is absolutely correct. You must have at least 18 hours of graduate classes in the field you will be teaching to teach at NOVA, which includes Dual Enrollment. LCPS teachers that are qualified to teach AP classes are not qualified to teach DE classes unless they have fulfilled the 18 credit hours criterion. Sorry sgp, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Taking LCPS to court ad nauseam does not make you an expert on everything LCPS.

    • 2016-10-12 at 4:08 pm

      ninja, having 18 hrs of graduate classes does not make someone an expert to teach. Especially someone whose undergraduate degree was in education.

      Show something, any data, to support your point. Or maybe you would like to revert back to the flat earth days when folks said “I think”, therefore it must be. We have this thing called science, where you take an idea, test it via a falsifiable hypothesis, and then prove your point. You have nothing but wild speculation.

      I showed you the research. You can’t even refute it or find opposing research. The DE classes are grade inflation mills which will likely have no long-term benefits. AP courses have solid research behind them in addition to standards.

      It’s ironic that there are folks within the LCPS administration who are finally moving in the data-driven direction. You folks are just clueless on that because you never understood the issues anyway. I don’t call out these folks because it’s best they don’t face ignorant resistance from the likes of you. Keep thinking that having no standards is the way to go. Not everyone wants to pursue a useless education major.

      • 2016-10-12 at 8:16 pm

        Grade inflation mills? Have you ever spoken with a student in a DE class?

        From you position here, there should be only two choices for students, regular classes and AP classes. What a crock? Why are you opposed to choice? Why are you mocking teachers who have the credentials to teach at this level? You are speaking with you connection to any LCPS classes, students or teachers. The DE English and History classes serve the students by provide a higher level than academic classes with a different approach than an AP class. If a college accepts the credits, then it is their decision. And we know that the decision making ability at colleges is much more refined that yours.

  • 2016-10-12 at 7:27 pm

    Ahhhh…….see, that’s your first mistake, sgp. Thinking you have a firm grasp on statistical analysis. Did you even bother to read the conclusions of the report you cited?

    You are ignorant if you think all teachers have a bachelors in education. And a minimum of 18 hours of grad work is the criterion for teaching at a community college. I never claimed it made you an expert. Just stating the facts.

    Have you ever taught DE classes? Do you have high school aged kids? No, of course not. Why don’t you worry about the middle school years before you take on DE and AP and other topics you know nothing about.

  • 2016-10-13 at 2:39 pm

    Ninja, I can see that you need some remedial courses in reading comprehension. You asked whether I even read the conclusions portion of the report which cited evidence that DE courses are correlated with positive outcomes in college. But your “close reading skills”, a Common Core staple I might add, didn’t pick up on the following quote:

    “While DE participation is associated with positive outcomes, this effect is seen only for students who took DE courses at the community college; DE participation had no effect for students who took courses at the high school.”

    But hey, just use the excuse that you are a teacher and everyone will understand. You see, those education major paper mills are just that. There is no guaranteed competence. Read this discussion forum from Diane Ravitch’s blog. Some wise legislators in Florida decided that teachers should probably know something to lead schools. Thus, they required an objective examination to determine if teachers understood data-driven analysis, could read/write well, and other leadership principles in a test called FELE 3.0. Nearly all the teachers are given straight A’s in their education “graduate level” courses. But then many cannot pass a test despite repeated attempts. Rather than acknowledge they didn’t learn the material, they blame the test, a la DE students who fear AP tests.

    The same applies to DE vs AP. Recall that these teachers may be from an identical pool. They may teach the courses in the same manner. However, 100% of students are passing DE classes and getting college credit. Virtually 100% of the students are also passing the AP course as graded by the teachers (the “Susan Ross” method of accountability). But only 70% can demonstrate a basic understanding of the material (3 or better on AP test). So they don’t get college credit. They are rightly told they need to actually understand the material to get a credential; otherwise, they will just be continually passed along.

    And that is exactly what happens in so many liberal arts and especially education schools. Students are just passed along and then some crazy teacher gets on a web board and says “see, I have a piece of paper that says I have 18 hrs of graduate courses, thus I am entitled to teach DE classes. Nevermind that 30-50% of my students couldn’t pass that AP exam, my students are prepared because I say so”. That is your argument in a nutshell. It doesn’t pass the basic logic test nor fool anybody but other teachers. But you keep on spewing that nonsense till the cows come home, ok?

    The fact is that a large portion of our college students must take remedial courses in college because they never learned the material. This applies to affluent kids and students who had “stellar GPAs”. Teachers give out grades like popcorn these days. If you think a college degree is important because it’s just a piece of paper, you likely think this approach is great. If you think a college degree should mean something, you are probably despondent over this trend.

    Why don’t we make a bet? This LCPS teacher issued grades based on the “rolling chair phenomenon” (what the heck is that). If anywhere close to the % of students who “passed” this class can pass an industry certification, then you win. If, as is more likely, most of these students couldn’t pass such a certification, I win and you stop spewing your nonsense. Deal? In case you haven’t figured it out, from a college’s perspective, DE is a marketing strategy. If you give folks a “discount” on their college tuition, you will get more students to come to your school. Or maybe you aren’t so good at critical thinking, either.

    • 2016-10-13 at 10:04 pm

      So SGP, you are saying that LCPS should not offer dual enrollment English and History classes, correct? Only AP classes count and only if students pass the AP test, correct? So, for all those kids looking for a higher level class than academic history or English, well, they are just out of luck. Might as well resigned yourself to being an overpaid, project manager working for a questionable government contractor like SGP.

      I’ll make an even better bet for you. Find a significant number of students who took a dual enrollment course and are now regretting that decision. You see, educating our students is not about your opinions. It is about the kids.

      • 2016-10-14 at 11:29 am

        I am saying where there is an equivalent AP course, the AP class should be taken.

        I am in agreement that atypical college courses, vocational or specific technical courses like cybersecurity or arts, are compatible with a dual enrollment model. The complexity of those courses would not be different at a community college and the kids could avoid unnecessary tuition.

        But steering our top students to DE enrollment courses because there are few standards and to help the community college sponsors get a kickback is not a good idea. Do you happen to work for a CC who is getting such kickbacks?

        • 2016-10-14 at 12:29 pm

          this is the problem, SGP that I have with you and your intrusion into LCPS. You seem to think you know better about my children that I do. You stat that my kids should take an AP class instead of DE class. How can you make this choice for my kids? You know nothing about them. You don’t know their ambitions, skills, study habbits, personal challenges, previous course history, GPA, or anything else about them. They might be better off in an AP class or they might be better off in a DE class. They might even be better off in an academic class. They might want to retake a class in college or they might want to skip a level. This is not your decision to make. Keep to parenting your own children and stay away from mine and everyone else’s. We can make up our own minds.

          • 2016-10-14 at 9:03 pm

            CareerSwitcher, I think the fact that you are teaching our kids scares the bejeesus out of a lot of us. You’ve been wrong more often than a broken clock including on this forum.

            Whether you like it or not, all citizens have a say in how their government is run, including the schools. We get to vote and we can speak our voices in public forums. I realize you, Hornberger, Rose and the rest would like to shut the public out and even prevent folks from even evaluating LCPS test scores. Ain’t gonna happen.

            You have not provided any contrary evidence. You love the fact that inflated grades are passed out like candy. I’m sure you love the fact that no final exam test means the teachers don’t even have to worry if they cover all of the material. Btw, what do you mean by an “academic class”. Last time I checked, all classes in school were academic – “or or relating to education”. Do I need to remind you why so many are scared that you are teaching our kids?

            You are a poster child for know-nothings who simply want their kids to get meaningless pieces of paper and participation trophies. You are not interested in what provides the best education for students overall or your kids. You just want to collect paper. Maybe one day, Fogelson, you will have the courage to emerge from behind your mask and boldly claim ownership of your positions.

    • 2016-10-14 at 8:12 pm

      Oh sgp, again I suggest you focus on the upcoming middle school years rather than areas you know nothing about. Not only is arguing with you a waste of my valuable time, but arguing with a fool only proves that there are two.

      • 2016-10-15 at 11:42 am

        To educated you, SGP, many classes are marked as either academic or honors with honors classes being more rigorous. I happy to help you learn about how our schools work because I know your kids are younger and you have not experienced high school yet. This will also help you understand why class choice is a good thing for our students and why parents should be the decision makers about what classes their own children take, not online posters. You might be an expert in govt contracts, using google and the pitfalls of Ashley Madison but you have lots to learn about our schools.

      • 2016-10-15 at 12:43 pm

        Ninja, I don’t think you are arguing, merely showing your ignorance. Arguing requires some plausible point and some evidence. You just state you don’t want knowledgeable citizens and parents involved in these discussions.

        You clearly haven’t been paying attention. Review the video of the last LCSB meeting. We now have senior administrators who know what they are doing. They are finally using data to make decisions. There were even calls to identify ineffective teachers using the data. The tide has turned. You are just too clueless to realize it.

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