The AP Program at Massaponax


What is the Advanced Placement program?  -  The Advanced Placement program at Massaponax provides students with an opportunity to experience college-level courses while in high school. Classes with the Advanced Placement (AP) designation follow a national curriculum developed by leading college professors and secondary education experts for the College Board. Beyond factual knowledge and organizational skills, AP courses place a great emphasis on fostering critical thinking and the means by which to succinctly express viewpoints in a meaningful way. Many courses are writing-intensive. All AP courses culminate in an exam or portfolio, which has the potential to award students with college credit for successfully demonstrating their superior understanding of the subject.

What Advanced Placement courses does Massaponax offer?  -  Massaponax offers a wide variety of AP courses in science, mathematics, social studies, language studies, and the fine arts.

What type of prerequisite course work and tests are involved to enroll my child in Advanced Placement courses?
  -  With only few exceptions, Spotsylvania County Schools treats all AP classes as open-enrollment courses. Any student may elect to take an AP course with parental approval. Considering the level of work and dedication necessary for success in an AP class, parents are encouraged to contact their child’s guidance counselor to discuss course expectations in advance of enrollment. Parents may wish also to contact the current teachers of AP courses of which their child has indicated an interest.

What do the AP Exams involve, and are they mandatory?  -  While the exact format of each AP exam differs depending on the course, most involve a five-option multiple choice section, then followed by a written section. The exams are comprehensive. The fee for each exam is $94. Those interested in more information about exam fees can visit the College Board website Fees & Fee Reductions.  While the exams are not mandatory, all students are strongly encouraged to take the exam for the opportunity to earn college credit for a strong performance. Generally, a score of 3 out of 5 is considered a “satisfactory” exam performance by most institutions.

Should my child successfully pass an AP Exam, is there any guarantee that his/her performance will be recognized by colleges and universities?  -  Each institution of higher learning has an individual policy toward AP credits. The exact number of credit hours earned for a particular score depends on the institution and your child’s desired major. Typically AP exams are recognized for 3-6 hours of credit, depending on the strength of the score--with a score of 3 being the lowest accepted and 5 being the highest. Selective schools generally require higher scores to earn credit hours. Due to recent legislation, almost all public post-secondary schools in Virginia (with the exception of William & Mary and UVA) are required to recognize AP exam scores of 3 and above.

Regardless of my child’s performance on an exam, how do colleges view the fact that he/she endeavored to take AP courses?  -  Most post-secondary institutions recognize the value of AP coursework. A number of recent studies suggest that students who take AP courses are more likely to finish a four-year degree than those who elect to exclusively take advanced or regular level classes during their high school career. Even the most selective schools consider AP coursework to be indicative of a student’s potential to make the adjustment to the rigors of college, and typically give a greater degree of weight to the transcripts of those who elected to challenge themselves with AP classes.

Where may I go to find additional information online?  -  There are a number of websites maintained by the College Board that can help you and your child decide if AP is an appropriate choice. Here is a collection of the most helpful websites:

AP Central:  AP Central provides students and parents with a clearing house of information on the AP program and courses.
MHS AP Program.pdf, 142.1 KB; (Last Modified on January 29, 2019)