AP Scores Up at Bernards High; 2 National Merit Semifinalists
Increase in percentage of students passing Advanced Placement classes likely reason that Bernards High moved up in NJ Monthly ranking, board member says.
The percentage of Bernards High School students who passed college-level Advanced Placement exams in spring 2012 reached 89.4, an increase from 73.4 percent the previous year, a member of the Somerset Hills Regional Board of Education reported earlier this month.
Board member Nancy Palazzolo credited the increase to additional supplemental materials in classes, online practice exams and additional training for staff teaching Advanced Placement classes. A grade of 3 is passing for the Advanced Placement exam given in AP classes each spring, with 5 being the highest grade.
She added that the increase in the passing rate was likely the reason that Bernards High climbed up to number 11 in New Jersey Monthly's list of top high schools in the state, released in August. The high school had been ranked at number 32 two years earlier.
There is a direct correlation between the high Advanced Placement passing rate and higher rankings in that list, as well as this year's list of top high schools in Newsweek, she noted.
Palazzolo also congratulated the students on the increase in passing grades. She added, "We [the board] truly believe that all students should try to tackle at least one AP course."
Generally, colleges accept some AP classes, or allow students to increase their status somehow by having earned college-level credits in high school, she said.
Bernards High has two National Merit semifinalists this year
The Board of Education also was introduced to two Bernards High School seniors who are National Merit semifinalists, Elena Baldwin and Kellie Swadba.
The school district will find out in February if the students have moved on to finalist status, said Bernards High principal Scott Neigel.
At the meeting, Neigel said both students are not only scholars, but are involved in a well-rounded schedule of athletics and other other activities.
Nationally, only 16,000 of about 1.5 million students nationwide who take the PSAT are named as semifinalists, according to the National Merit Scholarship website.