Advanced Placement course test scores are on an upward trend in the Delaware City School District.

Advanced Placement course test scores are on an upward trend in the Delaware City School District.

The district offers more than 20 AP courses at the high school level for students who want a challenge and to receive college credit for the class.

Most colleges require students to earn a 3 out of 5 score on the test in order to receive credit. Some elite colleges require a 4 or 5 score.

In 2003, 58 percent of students who took an AP course scored a 3 or higher. This year, 78 percent of students received a passing score.

Although the data trends rise and fall each year depending on the courses, overall, scores are steadily increasing.

Superintendent Paul Craft credited the trend on curriculum that includes prerequisites to prepare students for the AP courses, as well as the courses' teachers.

"It's having the right balance between a solid curriculum that students take leading up to the courses as well as the knowledge and excitement the instructor brings to the course," he said.

The district also offers independent online courses for students who want a specific course that is not offered at the high school, such as AP French and AP physics.

Several years ago, Craft said, the district identified its curriculum strengths and weaknesses at the high school level and made significant changes.

"We have been modifying our curriculum in ways that's paying dividends," he said. "It was a great step to improve our AP course offerings at the high school level."

Last year was the first year the district offered AP statistics, and Craft said he couldn't be more pleased with how well students did.

"Eighty-four percent of 44 students received a passing grade," he said. "Thirty-seven students are able to start college with three credits of statistics already on their transcript."

There are no requirements to take an AP course except the prerequisite courses. Students are not even required to have a certain grade in their previous courses.

"Of course, they have to take the normal sequence of courses, but we leave it up to the student and their family in terms of how they want to challenge themselves," Craft said.

He said despite the variables between each offered course and the group of students taking the courses, the school is headed upwards overall.

"There is a different dynamic in each group of students, as well as overall ability, so you will see some classes, such as biology, go up and down based on the year, but despite these variables, the scores are continuing to rise each year," he said.

Budget cuts did not affect any of the AP course offerings, Craft said.

"We have continued to offer AP courses even if the class is just 12 students," he said. "As more students enroll in the district, we have continued to add to the number of courses we offer."