Calcasieu AP Scores on the Rise

Holly Holland

Public Information Officer

August 17, 2018




The Louisiana Department of Education released data last week highlighting the statewide growth in the number of students earning college credit through Advanced Placement (AP®) exams. That growth trickled down to many parishes, including Calcasieu. 


“Advanced Placement coursework and tests give our students a great opportunity to measure success not only against other Louisiana students, but also against students around the country,” said Superintendent Karl Bruchhaus. “Calcasieu Advanced Placement teachers and students can be very proud of our performance. Our students continue to improve in all measured areas of Advanced Placement and are reaping both the academic and financial benefits when college time arrives.” 


Calcasieu Parish School Board students took a combined 1,340 AP exams last year in 21 different subject areas. In just one year, the district experienced a 33% growth in the number of 5s earned, the highest score achievable. 


Over the last five years, the district saw a six percent growth in the number of exams taken, a 34% growth in qualifying scores of 3 or higher, and an 83% growth in the number of 5s earned on exams. 


“In the past three years we have made significant strides in increasing the higher scores of 4s and 5s, which often doubles the college credit earned and makes our CPSB students more competitive with selective schools and honors programs,” said CPSB Advanced Studies Consultant Nicole Fontenot. “In 2018 alone we had a 33% increase in the number of 5s and is a testament to our teachers and students efforts.” 


Over 60% of students who took the AP U.S. History exam earned college credit, while over 85% earned credit on the Chemistry exam. All ten students who took the exam for AP Capstone, a program series new to Calcasieu, also earned college credit.  


The Capstone series is a two-part course offering, AP Seminar followed by AP Research, that teaches students AP skills along with other critical life skills.  


“I learned perseverance,” said student Catherine O’Byrne. “My time management skills were awful. That was a real struggle. I eventually learned how to manage my time better.” 


O’Byrne is one of the ten students who completed AP Seminar last year, the first students in Calcasieu to do so. The district was selected to offer the AP Capstone series through an application process. Now those AP Seminar students are beginning part two of the series: AP Research. 


Under the direction of teacher Alicia Jones, AP Seminar students experienced large jumps in their ACT scores, as well as growth in other areas of life.  


“In that class, I struggled a lot,” said student Kana Webb. “I’m busy, and it was my first year taking AP classes. I learned better time management, presentation skills, and writing skills.” 


These students say they are now bonded, genuinely look forward to class each day, and are seeing success on other AP exams because of the program. 


On top of the Capstone series, the district’s overall score growth can be attributed to Mock AP Exams offered by the Calcasieu Parish School Board each year. Most of the growth in Calcasieu has occurred since implementing Mock Exams, Mock Scoring, and Feedback Sessions.  


The Calcasieu Parish School Board is proud to have 137 AP scholars, students who earned a score of 3 or higher on at least three AP exams. Eight of those students also received the highest honor, National AP Scholar, granted to those who earn an average of at least 4 on all AP Exams taken and earn a score of 4 or higher on at least eight exams.