With 32 courses offered and 17,843 AP tests taken in 2019-2020, Frisco ISD has one of the largest AP programs in Texas with more students than ever taking the exams even as they finished the year learning from home.
“AP courses focus on building skills, such as critical thinking and writing skills, that are helpful for students as they move forward with additional AP courses or university-level coursework,” FISD managing director of academic programs Dr. Angela Romney said in a news release. “Despite moving to virtual instruction in the spring, Frisco ISD’s AP teachers continued to teacher students at a high level so that students were prepared for the revised exam format.”
The AP program was launched by the College Board in 1955 with its growth in Frisco ISD and on campus exploding over the years.
“I’ve seen the culture of AP instruction and the number of sections of AP classes really get much larger over the time that I’ve been here at Liberty,” social studies department head Jeff Crowe said. “I’ve been teaching AP World History and AP European History since 2007, so it’s been 13 years.”
The chance for freshmen to take AP Human Geography can be a stimulus for some students to continue taking AP classes throughout high school.
“Once they’ve taken an AP class as ninth and 10th graders, most of our AP social studies students stay with the program because they see the benefit of it,” Crowe said. “They see the level of education that they’re getting and the quality of the teaching.”
Although AP classes can provide college credit and a GPA boost, the classes can present some challenges for students.
“Throughout my 4 years of high school, I have taken 13 AP classes and for the most part, the content hasn’t necessarily been the issue,” senior Suhani Kunam said. “It’s more so the struggle of balancing the course load with all of the extracurricular activities that I also really enjoy.”
Even though AP classes traditionally have large amounts of coursework, Crowe says these classes can build character and work ethic within students.
“Even if they don’t score high on the AP exam, they will have that experience of having college-level education, they’ll develop the habits of buying and skills to be successful,” he said. “The reputation that our campus and the district has developed is one of high achievement of success, but also support and encouragement.”
According to Kunam, the lessons learned by taking more than a dozen AP classes extend beyond the material covered.
The four most popular AP Exams taken in FISD in the spring were AP Human Geography at 2,088 exams, AP World History at 1,883 exams, AP English Language at 1,780 exams and AP US History at 1,463 exams.
“I think it has made students more hard-working as they strive to grasp the complex topics that are taught in class,” senior Suhani Kunam said. “I also think that it makes students more tight-knit as they help each other out when they have questions or something like that.”