Fayetteville High School students took exams last May in 22 subject areas. Over a third of the FHS enrollment took an AP exam last May. In the Equity and Excellence portion from the Report to the Nation, an important piece of data is the percentage of the graduating class that has earned an AP exam score of 3 or higher during high school. That percentage for last year's FHS graduating class was 42.4%. The percentage for 2008 exams was 37%, both above the national and state percentage average. The national percentage was 15.9 % and the Arkansas percentage was 11 %. The states with the highest state-wide percentages were Maryland: 24.8%, New York: 23.8%; Virginia: 22.9%, Massachusetts: 22.1% and Florida: 21.3%. Even for students not obtaining scores of 3, 4 or 5 Jean Robinson, Indianan University associate dean of education states, "I think AP does provide those students with a sense of the kinds of skills and critical thinking that college will require from them."
The large FHS participation in the AP program and strong achievement results on AP exams can be attributed to a number of things working in concert said Barbara Prichard, AP Exam Director. "We have a strong and dedicated AP faculty at FHS. It takes extra work and continuing training to bring that success into the classroom and they "go the extra mile". We have more students arriving to 10th grade from Pre-AP classes with the skills and strategies necessary for the AP curriculum. The success of students taking their first AP class in 10th grade (the majority-over 150 this year- in AP US History/Pre-AP English) builds a sense of confidence which translates to continued enrollment in multiple AP courses during the 11th and 12th grades. We have over 20 years of survey data from former FHS AP students that has validated the importance of their AP coursework in college. Finally, there is an understanding from most parents and students that the most critical aspect for both admissions and scholarship selection is the strength of the high school coursework. That translates directly to having taken AP classes, among the other strong offerings at FHS."