COVINGTON -- All three Newton County high schools were named to the state Advanced Placement Honor Schools list.
Georgia School Superintendent Dr. John D. Barge recently named schools across the state in five categories, based on the results of the 2012 AP classes and exams.
All three high schools earned the distinction in the AP STEM Schools category, or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. They are deemed to be schools with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses (AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics B, AP Physics C and AP Computer Science).
Additionally, Alcovy High School was named in the AP Access and Support Schools category for the second consecutive year. It was one of 42 schools in the state named to the list.
Schools were deemed as such by having at least 30 percent of their AP exams taken by students who identified themselves as African-American and/or Hispanic and 30 percent of all AP exams earning scores of 3 or higher.
"Over the last several years, our high school leaders and teachers have worked diligently to provide more students with access to Advanced Placement courses; their hard work and dedication have paid off in many ways," said Samantha Fuhrey, deputy superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at the Newton County School System. "Students taking Advanced Placement courses are direct benefactors of this effort as many colleges and universities translate the success on Advanced Placement exams as college credit, and they are well prepared to participate in the workforce should that be their choice after high school. All three high schools earning the distinction as an AP Honor School further demonstrates our commitment to excellence."
Other categories on the list included:
-- AP Challenge Schools, which are schools of 900 or fewer students testing in four of the core areas (English, math, science and social studies).
-- AP Merit Schools, which are schools with at least 20 percent of the student population taking AP exams and at least 50 percent of all AP exams earning scores of three or higher.
-- AP STEM Achievement Schools, which are schools with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses and at least 40 percent of the exam scores on AP math and AP science exams earning scores of three or higher.
AP classes and exams are administered by the College Board, which also administers the SAT. AP classes offer rigorous college-level learning options to students in high school. Students who receive a 3, 4 or 5 on AP exams may receive college credit.
According to the Georgia Department of Education, Georgia has moved up to 12th in the nation in the percentage of seniors scoring a 3 or higher - a passing score - on AP exams. Georgia ranked 13th in the nation last year.
Georgia is also a national leader when it comes to public school students enrolling in AP courses and taking the exams. Only five other states in the country had a greater percentage of AP exam-takers last year. The percentage of Georgia seniors who took an AP exam was 41.1 percent, compared to 32.4 percent for the nation.
"Georgia's students continue to outperform most of their peers throughout the country on Advanced Placement exams," Barge said. "These results show that Georgia's students can compete against any students in the nation. Just as SAT results get everyone's attention, I think the performance of our students on Advanced Placement exams deserves the same attention."