Data recently released by the College Board shows that more Mount Olive High School students are taking and passing advanced placement exams than ever before. A record 764 AP exams were completed by students in 2020, a participation rate that is 81% higher than it was just five years ago in 2016. Only 85 AP exams were administered in 2004.

In 2020, 142 students were also named AP Scholars for taking and passing more than one AP exam. In 2019, there were 115 students so honored. 

This surge in AP participation reflects a concerted effort by the board of education, central administration, and high school administration to encourage students to challenge themselves with more difficult coursework. More AP courses were added to meet student interest, bringing the total to nearly 30, and additional college-level courses are being offered through local universities. 

In January, the Mount Olive Board of Education also approved an AP incentive program to encourage students to enroll in AP courses and complete exams. For students who paid the College Board fee for one AP exam, the district paid the registration fees for all additional exams. The incentive program helped overcome any cost barriers that were dissuading students from pursuing higher-level courses. (The College Board charge for most exams is about $95 but some can cost as much as $142.)

“I am so proud of the accomplishment of our students and AP teachers,” said Superintendent Robert Zywicki, Ed.D. “Kevin Stansberry, the former principal and current district director of secondary schools, deserves special recognition. Growing the AP program has been his passion project for more than a decade.” 

The data from 2020 also shows that more students from diverse demographics participated in AP exams and courses. This has long been a district and school goal. 

In 2019, Mount Olive was again named to the AP Honor Roll by the College Board –  a distinction that recognizes the district’s efforts in increasing the number of students from underrepresented demographics who take AP courses (while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students passing the exams). This was the third consecutive year in which the district has earned a place on the honor roll.       

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