Depending on the exam score, students may be able to receive college credit for the course. Regardless of test scores, Peart said, AP classes prime students for college. In an annual survey, 100 percent of Prince of Peace graduates say they intend to pursue some post-secondary learning or training.
"It's a great way to prepare kids for college level learning," Peart said. "This way, they see, 'yes, I could go to college and be competitive on that level.'"
The Iowa AP Index has increased every year since it was first measured in 2005. Clinton High School made its debut on the list in 2009 at 39. This is the first time the schools has been in the top 25 and school officials believe the success comes from a combination of increasing AP courses, allowing all students an opportunity to take them and pushing for students to take the exam.
"Any kid that wants to take AP, can. Any kid that wants to take honors, can. We don't promise them an 'A.' They're going to work, but we believe that all kids should have the opportunity for rigorous curriculum," CHS Principal Karinne Tharaldson Jones said.
Clinton offers AP courses in world history, language and composition, literature and composition, statistics, calculus, government, environmental science, psychology, economics, music theory and studio art as well as a rotating biology course and an online chemistry course. Students can start taking select AP courses in their sophomore year, with most available in the junior and senior years.
In 2012, 197 CHS students took AP courses and 208 tests were administered. On average, an AP student will take three to four exams in their time at CHS, according to Sue Schrader, department chairwoman of counseling at CHS.
The school has been noticeably affected since allowing more students into the advanced programs. With the increase in AP courses came a similar bump in students qualifying for the 3.0 club.