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Advanced Placement courses at NLS pass national audit

NEW LONDON -- New London-Spicer High School's six Advanced Placement courses have passed a national audit completed by college and university professors.

During Monday's NLS School Board meeting, Principal Kevin Acquard reported the curriculum of work provided to students of the school's six Advanced Placement courses met the approval of a national audit.

For the audit, professors looked over the teaching plans and program history of the NLS courses to determine if they are equivalent to corresponding courses at a college or university.

English teacher Mary Haug said Advanced Placement courses are designed to equal the difficulty and work load of a freshman college course. NLS has endorsed Advanced Placement since 1996 and provides courses in U.S. History, biology, English language and composition, English literature and composition, calculus and psychology. Upon completing a course, students can test out of the course for a $30 fee. If the student earns a passing grade, most colleges and universities will count those as free credits, thus saving a student a semester or two of coursework and tuition.

"We were all approved," Haug said. "But that doesn't correspond with all the students doing well on the test."

Acquard said a score of 3 out of a 5-point grade scale, is a passing grade but some institutions require a 4 or higher to earn credit for the AP course.

Haug said many students may not pass the final test of a course, but statistics show attendance in those courses assures greater success in college. "The test in May is very difficult. ... Even I wouldn't look forward to taking the test," Haug said.

According to Acquard's figures, 75 students took 114 tests in 2008. Of those, 46 percent of the students earned scores of 3 or higher.

Acquard said Advanced Placement is just one form of advanced learning the district provides. High School students may also participate in the Postsecondary Education Opportunities or college in the schools programs.

In other news:

- The filing period for candidacy of a school board position closes at 5 p.m. today. Affidavits of withdrawal from candidacy are accepted until 5 p.m. Thursday.