AP stands for Advanced Placement, which is a national curriculum for very smart high school students administered by the College Board. The College Board is the same non-profit organization that administers the SAT college admissions test.
The College Board offers AP curricula in 38 subjects ranging from Art History to English Literature to Physics to Chinese, but most schools do not have the resources to offer all courses. AP Courses are designed to be very rigorous, supposedly simulating the difficulty of a 1st semester college class.
High school students can usually earn college credit by scoring well on the end of course AP exams, given each spring. A separate exam is given for each course and is scored from 1 to 5. Scores of 3, 4, and 5 are considered passing; however, most academically selective colleges will only grant credit for scores of 4 and 5.
High achieving students with access to many AP courses can often earn enough college credit from AP exams to technically start college as a second year student. For example, a student who took 10 AP courses in high school and scored a 4 or 5 in each course, might enter college with 30 credit-hours, assuming the college awards 3-hours per course. (Read more about how Rice University treats AP credit).
Beyond simply bragging rights and the ability to skip sometimes boring entry-level classes, 30 credit-hours could save families from paying for an entire year of college!
Reading the Tables
- Students 11/12 are the total number of juniors and seniors at the school
- Participation is the percentage of juniors and seniors who took at least 1 AP exam
- Passing is the percentage of tests, which earned a score of 3, 4, or 5
- Exams / Student are the average number of AP tests that each participating student took
Top Houston-Area Public High Schools by AP Participation and Passage Rates
This list ranks schools in order of participation rate; however, only schools with a passing rate of 50% or higher are included. A higher participation rate shows that the school is encouraging more students to take college level courses. However, some schools require or push students to take AP courses when they are not prepared for that level of rigor. As a result, some schools can have high participation rates but unacceptably low passing rates, which is why we exclude them.
All Reporting Houston-Area Public High Schools with AP Participation
Our data set from the Texas Education Agency includes 143 schools; all of the schools are listed below and are sorted by “Exams/Student,” which is the number of AP tests taken by each participating student. More tests per student is better. No schools are excluded from this list.
About the Data
This data is from the Texas Education Agency for the 2016-2017 academic year, which was the most recently available data at the time of analysis.
The list includes school districts, which generally fall within Houston’s “third ring road” comprised of the Grand Parkway and Highway 6:
- Channel View
- Clear Creek
- Deer Park
- Fort Bend
- Galena Park
- Spring Branch
- Yes Prep (charter)
- Harmony (charter)
- Kipp (charter)