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TASIS AP Program Continues To Thrive

TASIS AP Students

Congratulations are in order for the 80 TASIS students who took at least one Advanced Placement (AP) exam this spring, the outstanding teachers who prepared them so effectively, High School Academic Dean Mark Abisi, outgoing Advanced Placement Coordinator Peter Locke, and incoming Advanced Placement Coordinator Kerry Venchus, whom Mr. Locke credited for her visionary leadership after working closely with her in the latter stages of the year.

Below we review the results and discuss some of the many highlights from the 2019 AP exams. (Note that The College Board only reports data from the previous five years, so all analysis will be confined to the period of 2015–2019.)

A Surge of AP Scholars

AP Scholars

Twenty-five TASIS students earned AP Scholar Awards, which are granted by The College Board to high school students who demonstrate exemplary college-level achievement on their exams. This total represents a notable increase from the 15 awards granted in 2018 and is easily the highest mark for TASIS over the past five years. 

Katherine Kelly ’19, Herkus Marcinkevicius ’19, Samantha Walker ’19, and Zichao Yang ’19 earned the highest honor, AP Scholar with Distinction, for scoring 3 or higher on five or more AP exams with an average score of at least 3.5. 

Cem Koprulu ’19, Hannah Moel ’20, Refilwe Lauren Riba ’19, and Aruzhan Sarsenova ’19 were named an AP Scholar with Honor for scoring 3 or higher on four or more exams and compiling an average score of at least 3.25.

Lilian Angelone ’19, Giulio Bianco ’21, Maria Luisa Caplan ’20, Valentina De Villalonga Martin’19, Cristina Estevez ’19, Melina Giovanis ’20, Esma Karuv ’19, Cecilia Long ’19, Michelle McKay ’19, Sara Pisa ’19, Alexandra Pohl ’19, Andres Pulido ’19, Maria Veronica Ramos Romero ’19, Anna Savinova ’20, Maximus Sexton ’20, Puya Shamsfard ’19, and Gaoning Zhang ’20 were the 17 students to earn recognition as an AP Scholar for scoring 3 or higher on at least three exams.

Success Rate Soars Again

All AP exams are scored from 1–5, with “success” defined by The College Board in the following manner:

“Success” on an AP exam is defined as an exam score of 3 or higher, which represents the score point that research finds predictive of college success and college graduation. These findings have held consistent across the decades. One example of such a study comes from the National Center for Educational Accountability, which found that an AP exam score, and a score of 3 or higher in particular, is a strong predictor of a student’s ability to persist in college and earn a bachelor’s degree.

Success Rate Graphic

In the spring of 2019, 80 TASIS students combined to take a total of 156 AP exams, with 71 students recording a 3 or higher on at least one exam. The College Board defines this as a school success rate of 89 percent, which continues an upward trend for TASIS students and represents a five-year high for the School. (Please note that the figures in the graphics displayed above, which were produced by The College Board, include the scores of three local students who do not attend TASIS but sat for their exams on campus.)

Success Rate
Perfect Scores (5/5)
4 or Higher

Even more impressively, TASIS students posted 29 5s and 43 4s, meaning that 46 percent of the 156 exams taken received a score of at least a 4.

Standout Sections

Kim Nelson’s Studio Art: 2-D Design Portfolio students

Kim Nelson’s Studio Art: 2-D Design Portfolio students excelled on their exams once again, posting a stellar average score of 4.77 (ten 5s and three 4s). This marks the fifth straight year that the talented photographers operating under Ms. Nelson’s watch have averaged at least 4.57 points. (37,990 students worldwide took the Art: 2-D Design Portfolio this year and posted a mean score of 3.57.)

Natalia Carretta (Italian), Geraldine Caussette (French), Ania Barciak (German), and Paloma Simona (Spanish) helped students prepare for the Italian Language and Culture, French Language and Culture, German Language and Culture, and Spanish Language and Culture exams. Of the 20 exams taken, 18 were scored a 4 or 5. This excellent 4.35 average is further testament to the spirit of multilingualism present on the TASIS campus and the strength of the School's Modern Languages Department.

2017 Khan-Page Master Teacher Award recipient Kerry Venchus guided 13 Calculus AB students to a superb 4.31 average, continuing a very impressive run of success. (301,492 students worldwide took the Calculus AB this year and posted a mean score of 2.97.)

Under the tutelage of Fine Arts Department Chair Martyn Dukes, seven students compiled an excellent average score of 4.00 on the Studio Art: Drawing Portfolio exam. (21,914 students worldwide took the Studio Art: Drawing Portfolio exam this year and posted a mean score of 3.65.)

Half of the 20 students Eric White prepared for the Macroeconomics exam scored a 4 or 5, and the class posted a strong overall average of 3.30. (146,710 students worldwide took the Macroeconomics exam this year and posted a mean score of 2.94.)

History Department Chair Dan Kirsch helped 12 students achieve a solid mean score of 3.25 on the challenging European History exam, representing the best results for this class since 2015. (101,076 students worldwide took the European History exam this year and posted a mean score of 2.90.)

Learn More About the TASIS AP Program

To better understand why some students at TASIS focus their efforts on Advanced Placement (AP) classes while others choose to pursue an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, we recommend reviewing this article, which also includes an analysis of AP and IB results from 2015 and earlier. Analyses of the 2018 AP results, the 2018 IB results, the 2017 AP and IB results, the 2016 AP results, and the 2016 IB results are also available on the TASIS website.

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