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Valley Lutheran AP Scores Exceed State Averages

September 18th, 2019

Valley Lutheran students have a history of performing well on Advanced Placement examinations. The 2018-2019 school year was no exception. Valley offers courses aligned with Advanced Placement curriculum in five areas – Calculus, English, Spanish Language, U.S. History, and Biology. On average VL students outscored their state and global counterparts in all five of these areas.

Valley Lutheran Academic Dean Dr. Lisa Meyers shared, “Once again, I was excited to see the solid performance of our students on their AP Exams! Scoring well above both state and global averages, 79 students earned potential college credit by taking their AP courses at Valley Lutheran.”

Advanced Placement courses are overseen by the College Board, the national organization that is also responsible for the administration of the SAT college entrance exam. The curriculum and examinations mirror that of college and university courses. As a result, colleges may grant credit to high school students who achieve a certain level of success in AP courses. A 5-point scale is used to classify students’ qualification to receive credit. A 3 is considered ‘qualified’, a 4 ‘very well qualified’, and a 5 ‘extremely well qualified’. The following table shows the percentage of students in each demographic group that received a 3 or higher on the 2019 exam.

 Valley LutheranState of MichiganGlobal 
Calculus71%61%58%
English Language71%59%54%
Spanish Language100%81%88%
U.S. History86%60%54%
Biology88%73%65%

In addition to the above courses, Valley students may elect to take the AP exam related to a handful of similar Valley Lutheran courses. Over the years Valley students have received college credit for Studio Art, Psychology, American Government, Chemistry, and Statistics.

Valley Lutheran began offering AP courses in 2009. While the percentages in the above chart certainly show Valley successes, an arguably more impressive statistic is this: over the past 10 years, 56% of Valley students who have received a 3 or higher have received the rarer 4 or 5. (This is compared to an estimated 33% nationally.) In other words, the majority of our successful students are rated as ‘very well qualified’ or ‘extremely well qualified’ to receive college credit.

There are a number of factors that play into the success of Valley students. Meyers commented, “Our students put in tremendous time and effort and can be very proud of their scores. The AP teachers participate in regular training during the summer and throughout the school year that prepares them to effectively coach students towards deep-level understanding and high-level demonstration of the required skills.”

During this previous summer, five Valley Lutheran faculty members participated in professional development opportunities sponsored by College Board.  Valley Lutheran Government teacher Mr. Patrick Winningham reflected on his experience at a weeklong workshop, “I’m learning the ins and outs of the course so I can lead students to be successful in this college-level course.” English teacher Miss Jeanette Weilnau echoed this sentiment stating, “The workshops provide me with practical ideas to help me better serve my students. I’m learning about new supports that AP has designed to help teachers help students not only achieve high marks on their exams but move toward mastery in fundamental course skills.”

For more information about Valley Lutheran’s academic programs visit www.vlhs.com/academicprograms.

Thumbnail graphic: The average of 2019 ‘pass’ rates of the five content areas listed in the table (Calculus, English Language, Spanish Language, U.S. History, Biology) for each demographic listed.