AP Sciences courses at Legacy hit a 20 year record high
- Focus on Students
The first AP Science courses offered to Legacy High School students were way back in the 2002-2003 school year. That year 57 students took an AP Biology, AP Chemistry, or AP Physics course and 23 % of those students passed the exam in the spring. 20 years later, 194 students sat down to take those same tests, and 87 % earned a score of 3, 4, or 5!
When asked why the school has seen such consistent growth in the AP science program, AP Chemistry teacher Andrea Jones attributed the trend to strong professional learning communities at the school. “Our AP program is built on the high quality instruction that our students get in 9th and 10th grade. The Legacy science department has challenged our students to take on college prep courses in the early years of high school and those courses have well defined essential outcomes that are directed towards the higher level thinking skills that are required in AP courses. Many students who don’t see themselves as “AP” material often discover their passion and ability in our college prep courses.”
Legacy AP Physics students learn about string tension in a conical rotation scenario in the “flying pigs” lab.
AP Physics teacher John Gordon attributes a lot of the success in AP sciences to the strong math program at the School. Unlike most high schools, until recently, all students at the school had two math courses during freshman year. That gave most students the opportunity to gain the math skills needed to take AP Science courses before they graduated, regardless of if they started 9th grade in a grade level math class or an advanced math class.
Legacy AP Chemistry students learn to measure the equilibrium constant of a reaction using a spectrophotometer.
AP Biology teacher Amanda Blyth pointed out that “one of the reasons for the success of the program is that we have teachers in all AP science subjects that are Readers or even Table Leaders [teacher Rob Mariea] for the College Board.” That experience, and the fact that so many of our staff have taught an AP science course means that our 9th and 10th grade courses are influenced by more than the NGSS (next generation science standards); they are also impacted by our experiences preparing students for AP Science courses.
While the science department is proud of the achievements of past students, the goal is to grow the program even further. The school has become more economically and socially diverse over the past 20 years and the AP science program continues to grow. According to teacher Zach Jones, “It surprises people that our AP science courses are among the most diverse science courses at the school. But we still have work to do. We want to increase participation by students that do not see themselves as “science” people or whose parents may not have a job in a technology related field. We believe anyone can succeed in these courses and we want to help them discover abilities and interests that they may not have known they have.”
A Legacy AP Biology student learns about factors that affect the rate of enzyme catalyzed reactions.
This story exemplifies our ELEVATE Focus Area: 21st Century Learners. Sharing stories of students who collaborate, think critically, problem-solve and are digitally literate to thrive in today’s ever-changing world.
- Legacy High