One of the major factors driving a high school’s academic ranking is Advanced Placement (AP) test scores. U.S. News & World Report, for example, uses AP test scores as one of four primary criteria for its annual ranking of the nation’s best high schools. For U.S. News, which ranked Wootton the 106th best high school in the country in 2017, AP test data is a benchmark for measuring high school students’ “college readiness.”
Time and time again, Montgomery County has proven that it is one of the highest scoring counties in the nation among public high school districts. More importantly, Wootton is currently first among all Montgomery County high schools in AP test scores.
Montgomery County scored 13.1 percent higher than the state’s average, with 74.2 percent of students achieving a score of three or higher (on a scale of five) on AP tests. Compared to the national average, Montgomery County’s performance was even stronger, exceeding the national average by 18.3 percent. These results are not new. Montgomery County has scored better than Maryland and the nation as a whole for years.
Despite this, the percentage of Montgomery County students with scores of three or higher on AP tests has hovered around 70 percent to 75 percent, never fluctuating much.
Wootton has scored exceptionally well on AP tests compared to other schools in Montgomery County. In 2015, 90.5 percent of AP tests taken by students were three’s or higher — the highest percentage of students achieving a score of 3 or higher among all high schools in Montgomery County. Walt Whitman, Walter Johnson and Churchill were the closest behind with 89.8 percent, 87.9 percent and 87.9 percent, respectively. In 2014, Wootton was second in the county with 89.2 percent, trailing only Walt Whitman, whose students achieved scores of three or higher on 90.2 percent of their AP tests that year.
Senior Justin Slud is not surprised by Wootton’s leading AP test results. “Students at this school work really hard, and our AP teachers are great,” Slud said. “The teachers focus on preparing students for the tests, and you can see the hard work pay off with the test scores.”
There is more than just rankings and bragging rights at stake when students do well on AP tests. They can use AP test results at many colleges and universities to skip certain introductory classes, enter higher-level classes, and/or fulfill general education requirements.