Thursday December 6, 2012

DAWSON RASPUZZI

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- The brightest students from area high schools topped state, national and global averages on the 2012 College Board Advanced Placement exams.

Eighty Mount Anthony Union High School students accounted for 130 AP tests taken in May. Of those, 76 percent showed college level mastery with a score of three or better on a five point scale.

At Arlington Memorial High School students accounted for 18 tests in five subjects, of which 83 percent scored three or higher.

Average scores

In the 12 subjects MAUHS students took AP exams the cumulative average was 3.29 -- higher than the state average of 3.04, national average of 2.89 and global score of 2.91.

Similar to last year, standout scores were largely in the subjects of English, math and history. Leading the way were 17 students who took the calculus exam with a cumulative average of 4.24 -- compared to averages around 3.0 elsewhere.

In two different English exams students also scored well above the norm, with cumulative averages of 3.95 in language composition (taken by 20 students) and 4.43 in literature composition (taken by seven students).

Other subjects in which Mount Anthony students scored above state, national and global averages include European history (3.55), world history (3.38), and music theory, which only one student took after taking an online course offered through Virtual High School. That student scored a perfect five. Students also topped national and global scores in U.S. history with a 3.0 average.

"I think this shows the hard work of the teachers and hard work of the students," Principal Sue Maguire said.

It also illustrates the dedication of the teachers who all go through specific training offered by the Advanced Placement Summer Institute for Secondary Teachers, Maguire said.

Most AP classes are year-long programs. Maguire said teachers begin communication with students in the summer when students have reading and other assignments they are asked to complete by the time classes officially begin in the fall.

School counselor Tonia Bucciero gave much of the credit to the teachers who have passion for what they do and making learning fun.

"It’s easy to teach something you love when students love learning it," she said.

Eighty-seven percent of students who took an AP class at Mount Anthony took the related AP exam.

In Arlington, students completed AP exams in five subjects. In total, students showed college level mastery on 15 of 18 tests they completed.

Principal Kerry Csizmesia credited the school’s annual success on AP exams to the dedication of teachers and students.

"I think we have some outstanding teachers and I think we have some kids that understand the importance of this and why they’re in school and they take it very, very seriously," Csizmesia said.

While the scores are nice, both Csizmesia and Maguire said the proof of how effective AP programs are is illustrated when students return from college to thank their teachers.

"What I get most excited about is when these kids come back from colleges at a semester break and talk about how well prepared they were," Csizmesia said.