Nearly three out of four Fulton School System students did well enough on their 2019 Advanced Placement exams to potentially earn college credits for their efforts.
The College Board administers AP exams each spring to students enrolled in AP courses. Exam scores range from 1 to 5, with a 3 considered the minimum score to earn college credit in introductory courses.
The percentage of Fulton students scoring a 3 or higher on the college-level AP exams increased by 1 point to a 71.4 percent pass rate this year. The number of tests given, however, declined by about 10 percent from 2018.
“I’m pleased to see so many students challenge themselves with Advanced Placement’s college-level rigor,” School Superintendent Mike Looney said. “These curriculum opportunities help prepare our college-bound students for more academic success.”
All eight North Fulton high schools averaged above the district pass rate of 71.4 percent. Two North Fulton high schools, Chattahoochee and Northview, had more than 90 percent of their AP exams result in a score of 3, 4 or 5. Johns Creek High School was close behind with 86.3 percent of students scoring at least a 3.
Milton and Alpharetta high schools had the highest number of test takers — more than 1,100 students at each school – with a pass rate of 74.5 and 76.1, respectively.
AP Courses taken by 2019 North Fulton Graduates (over 4 years)
Total AP Courses
Avg. Courses per Graduate
Johns Creek High
While passing the AP exam is the end goal, participation in AP courses is a key factor in college admissions where a “rigor based” course load in high school is desirable, according to college counselors.
“Colleges look at AP, International Baccalaureate (IB) and honors courses available at the applicant’s schools, and whether the student availed themselves of those opportunities,” said Andrew Belasco, CEO of College Transitions, a Georgia-based firm specializing in college admissions counseling.
This year’s freshman class at the University of Georgia took an average of nine AP courses while in high school. At schools in the Ivy League and among highly competitive schools, the number averaged 15.
Fulton School officials credit AP teachers with maximizing the opportunities for students to challenge themselves with college-level courses, and to use “best practices” in their classroom.
AP Courses with highest Pass Rates in 2019
# of Exams
Exams scoring 3, 4, or 5
English Language & Composition
US Govt. & Politics
United States History
“The district facilitates AP teachers’ collaboration with others through webinars and state workshop,” Chief Academic Officer Cliff Jones said. “Fulton County Schools prides itself in increasing access to AP courses for all students.”
While access to AP courses is a district goal, making sure students are academically prepared for the rigor of a college-level courses is important, Jones noted.
“The work the district has done with the Standards Mastery Framework and professional development…provides teachers with instructional strategies to build student knowledge before getting to AP classes,” Jones said.