Dear SSIS Parents –
From the beginning, our Founders always intended that SSIS would offer two program options to students in the high school. With our first graduating class, we began by offering the rigorous Advanced Placement (AP) Program from the US-based College Board. AP courses represent university-level offerings and offer students challenging coursework along with the opportunity to improve the competitiveness of their university applications or even gain advanced standing at their university. The AP exam grade (scored from a high of “5” to a low of “1”) is based upon a single exam for each subject taken all over the world on the same day in May. AP grades are recognized by universities all around the world and not just those in the United States. These grades allow universities to make initial comparisons between students applying from different schools and different countries in a way that is often more objective than school-based grades.
Beginning in 2010, and again by design of our Board, we introduced the IB Diploma Programme, a two-year college preparatory program which combines both internal assessment and external examinations to credential students as prepared for the rigors of university study.
We are often asked, “Which program is better?” The simple answer is: “It depends.” Each program has its strengths and weaknesses. The better question is: “Which program best meets the needs of my child.” My oldest daughter went the AP route, graduating with nine AP courses and is off to Canada this fall to study at McGill. My second daughter has chosen to pursue the IB-DP diploma and graduates this coming May. My oldest did do some IB courses during her high school career while my second daughter has taken AP classes at SSIS. No two students are identical and our University Guidance office under Mr. Kostrzeski works hard to match the right class schedule to each student.
Our AP scores for last year are now in and we are thrilled to share how well last year’s SSIS students did on their exams.
While students are allowed to take AP exams even without taking a formal course, the majority of our students take advantage of our excellent teaching staff to prepare for their exams. Last year we offered 9 AP courses with an enrollment of 99 students. Of these 99 students, 93% scored a 3 or better on the exam (often called the “pass rate”), and 75% earned a 4 or 5. These are outstanding results.
This year, 2017-2018, we have greatly increased the number of SSIS students who have enrolled in AP courses. 165 students, from sophomores to seniors, are enrolled in AP courses, a 57% increase over last year. Over the next two years we have plans to further increase the number of AP courses offered to students at SSIS. Our students are clearly up to the challenge, and AP exam grades can help to strengthen a university application, even for students who take the full IB Diploma Programme. I’ll share more about our IB results from last year in another post.
Mark Sylte, Head of School