The number of Sioux Falls learners getting advanced placement courses decreased almost 8% last school year over the year before, partially because of an overall decrease in secondary school registration, authorities said. Slightly more than 2,000 learners registered in advanced placement courses in the Sioux Falls School District last school year, down about 170 learners from the year before. The figures were provided to the Sioux Falls School Board. Officials said the figures drop in range with the pattern the district has been seeing over the years and are not a big issue. “The comfort is, this year’s performance decreased in range with the long run,” Superintendent Pam Homan said. Board member Todd Thoelke said he would like to see more children using the programs.
“It’s a great program and I know the dedication from learners is remarkable. It gives them a glance inside the world of higher education,” he said. “It also gives them a step up for when that day comes.” Students are provided a wide range of different advanced placement courses, with the program determined by the company College Board, covering composition, history, geography, chemistry and Spanish, among others. Some classes are provided during the school day in a class room, but others are provided online, which can help learners who cannot fit a particular class into their schedule.
At the end of the course, learners have the choice to take an AP examination. Test results are reported on a range of 1-5 and learners must accomplish a grade of 3 or greater in order for the course to be regarded for college credit. Last school year, 70% of Sioux Falls learners who took an AP examination passed. The national passing rate is 61%. There is benefit both for learners to take the examination and educational institutions to motivate their learners to do so, said Laura Raeder, high school curriculum coordinator for the school district. Students can take the AP examination at a price of $87, generally less than the price of a college credit. The district subsidizes the price for learners who have financial need but are not eligible for support through other means.