Oxford AP Scores Rise Amidst New Schedule and Pandemic
Example of students’ resilience during a challenging year
Oxford, Mississippi (July 22, 2021) — Oxford High School students increased scores on the national Advanced Placement (AP) exams despite the school-wide transition to the 4x4 block schedule and the challenges presented by a worldwide pandemic during the 2020-2021 school year. The school tested 271 students and administered 470 AP exams where the average of students scoring a 3 or higher is 67.9%, up from the average of 61.7% on the traditional bell schedule from 2013-2018.
Oxford High School has one of Mississippi's strongest AP programs, exceeding state and global percentages. Only 41% of Mississippi students scored a 3 or better and 54.99% of worldwide students scored a 3 or better on AP exams last year.
On a 4x4 schedule, students take 4 classes in the fall and four classes in the spring for a total of eight courses per year instead of seven. On the 4x4 schedule, students have a limited number of class changes. Reducing the number of class changes also helped prevent excessive hallway congestion, even though the plan was in place prior to the pandemic.
The district and school board faced scrutiny from parents about the new schedule because a student may take an AP class in the fall and then have to wait until the spring to take national AP exams in early May. Parents were concerned about their child's retention of what was learned. Many U.S. colleges grant credit for scores of 3 and above- so a student’s score on the exam means money saved in parents’ pockets. Because of the change, Oxford's AP teachers offered additional test prep to AP students to help ease their worries and bridge the gap in time.
“Our students worked hard during this difficult year to perform at such a high level. Our teachers did a fantastic job of working through all of the highs and lows of this past year to guide our students to growth and success,” said OHS Principal, Noah Hamilton. Oxford High School offers 17 AP courses and will remain on the 4x4 block schedule for the 2021-2022 school year. However, the school will only offer AP courses in the spring semester.