Enrollment in Advanced Placement classes in math, English and science has doubled over the last three years at Milford High School, as administrators have opened the classes to more students and made more courses available.
This year, AP Statistics and AP Environmental Science were created. The latter is the most popular, with 50 students enrolled, said Carolyn Banach, an assistant principal.
At Milford, the enrollment in AP courses in math, science and English has climbed from 137 in 2008 to 275 this year. (The numbers do not include students enrolled in other AP courses, including history)
Last year, the number of qualifying scores — the scores that qualify the student for college credit — increased from 80 to 131 in Milford.
Milford School Committee members reviewed the enrollment report in their meeting Thursday.
High schools across the country are encouraging more students to enroll in the college-level classes, which follow a rigorous, national curriculum and for which teachers must receive specialized training. In Massachusetts, the percentage of high school seniors taking an AP exam, and scoring high enough to claim college credit, climbed from 14.6 percent in 2001 to 25.5 percent last year, the second-highest rate of increase in the country.
Studies have found that students who take AP classes are better prepared for university coursework, and far more likely to graduate in four years. Students can receive college credit for the classes if they score a 3 or higher on the AP exam. The amount of credit depends on the university.
"We're trying to make sure our students, when they get on to that college campus, are ready to learn on a college level," Banach said.
The high school now requires all tenth and eleventh-graders to take the PSAT, a preliminary SAT, partly as a tool to determine what specific skills students are doing well in, and which ones need more emphasis, Banach said. Last year, about half of the students in 10th and 11th grades took the PSAT.
Brittany Hill, a Milford senior, is taking three AP classes this year. Last year, she took two. The class she got the most from, she said, was AP English, which emphasized composition, including how to write an effective argument. She scored a 4 out of a possible 5 on the exam, and will receive college credit for her effort.
"It's awesome if you can get credit," she told the Milford School Committee. "But you go into college with more knowledge."