More HISD students excelling on SAT and Advanced Placement exams

The number of Houston ISD students earning college credit on Advanced Placement Exams and posting top scores on the SAT has never been higher, Superintendent Terry Grier announced today.

In the 2010-2011 school year, HISD high school students scored a 3 or better – the score most colleges require to grant course credit – on 6,657 college-level AP exams, a 35 percent increase from 2009. The number of AP Scholars – students who passed three or more AP exams before graduation – reached 1,070 last year, more than triple the number of AP Scholars in 2010.

At the same time, the number of HISD students scoring 500 or higher on each of the three subjects tested on the SAT college entrance exam is up significantly from the previous year – 18 percent in math, 13 percent in reading, and 10 percent in writing. The 500-point threshold is important because research shows that students who achieve this score are more likely to succeed in that subject in college.

The number of HISD students scoring 21 or better on the ACT college entrance exam reached 1,081 last school year, an increase of more than 200 students over 2010.

Dr. Grier announced the latest HISD college readiness data at Westside High School, which ranks among the top campuses in terms of SAT and AP performance. Westside students last year scored 3 or higher on nearly 1,000 AP exams, second-best among all HISD high schools. The number of Westside students scoring at least 500 on the three SAT subjects is third-highest in HISD.

“Removing barriers that previously kept many students from taking AP and SAT exams has revealed that many HISD students have the ability to perform at high academic levels if given the chance and a bit of encouragement,” Dr. Grier said. “This data validates the HISD Board of Education’s commitment to ensuring that no student misses a chance to take these tests just because they can’t afford to pay.”

HISD covers all AP exam fees for students. And this March, every HISD high school junior will have an opportunity to take the SAT exam during regular class time for free. Last year, HISD became just the second school district in America to make its juniors such an offer.

The success of HISD students on AP and SAT exams coincides with a significant uptick in scholarship offers. In 2011, scholarship offers to HISD graduates was $129.6 million, compared to $51.4 million in 2009. Half of HISD’s Class of 2011 graduates were accepted by a 4-year university. Eighty-eight percent of graduates were accepted into a 2-year college or 4-year university.