Published in the July 13, 2017 edition


NORTH READING – Students at North Reading High School achieved their highest recorded average score in two subjects during AP testing this year, as well as recent highs in some other areas.

In a conversation this week with the Transcript, NRHS Principal Anthony Loprete discussed this year’s test results, which saw 477 tests administered across 17 subject areas. The students achieved the highest-ever NRHS AP scores in the Calculus AB exam (4.231), as well as in the environmental science exam (3.629).

Loprete explained that a score of 3.0 out of 5 is considered by many colleges and universities to be a qualifying score, allowing a student to earn early college credits for that course. Some elite institutions require higher scores.

“We take AP courses very seriously,” said Loprete, adding that NRHS has a “history of students with a strong desire to challenge themselves,” and that the school places a focus on providing the AP courses most desired by the students. The AP courses are generally open enrollment to further encourage students to operate in what Loprete described as a “stretch zone” between their comfort levels and their “panic zone.” The principal also said that students are provided with a “very realistic and honest” rundown by teachers of what will be expected of them before enrolling in an AP course.

Other highlights of this year’s testing included the highest recorded average AP biology score in four years (3.154), and the highest English Language and Composition average score (3.341) in five years. Loprete also noted that all four students who took the AP Spanish exam achieved scores of 3.0 or better, and that the number of students taking the world history exam had nearly doubled to 17, while still seeing their combined average score increase by .6 of a point. “We’ve maintained our standard of excellence with regard to AP,” said Loprete.

Students also posted declines in a handful of subjects, most notably in statistics, which saw the average score fall from 3.667 to 2.593, with 54 students (up from 21 last year) taking that exam. Students taking the U.S. government AP exam also saw a decline in the average score to go along with a significant increase in participation. This year, 76 students took the test for a 2.711 average score, compared to the 49 students the previous year who scored an average of 3.306. Chemistry also saw a decline, with 20 students scoring an average of 1.7 compared to 17 students in 2016 who averaged 2.235.

Other subjects that saw smaller gains over the previous year included biology, and physics, while computer science and English literature, as well as U.S. history and psychology, saw modest average declines over the past school year – with psychology only falling by about 0.05 points.

Loprete also noted that the students didn’t just walk in and achieve high scores on their AP exams. Instead, he cited the combined instruction, preparation, and experience that brought them to that level over time. “It’s a team win,” said Loprete.