East Hawaii News

Big Island Students Soar in AP Exams

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College Board’s Advanced Placement Program Scholar Awards have been earned by public school students across the state at 37 high schools, including 74 students at six Big Island schools.

Hilo, Kealakehe, Kohala, Konawaena, Pahoa, and Waiakea students received recognition for exceptional achievement in AP Exams.

The Department of Education says that across the state, 15 students qualified for the National AP Scholar Award by earning an average score of four or higher on a five-point scale on all AP exams taken.

Waiakea High School’s Jake Ebesugawa, Thomas Lee, and Junhao Li all qualified for the award, which was ultimately give to Vivian Fang from Mililani High School and Christopher Kim from Maui High School.


“We want to congratulate all our high schools where students and teachers are meeting the high expectations afforded in AP,” said Stephen Schatz, HIDOE deputy superintendent. “We are very encouraged by the increase of students taking the AP exam, as well as a greater proportion of our students achieving passing scores on these rigorous exams.”

A total of 100 students at 22 schools qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award. Out of the 100 students, 13 were from the Big Island, earning an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken.

Another 118 students at 27 schools earned an average of 3.25 on all AP exams taken, earning them the AP Scholar with Honor Award. Fourteen Big Island students were awarded the honor, which required the students to also hold a score of three or higher on four or more of the exams.


Reaching scores of three or higher on three or more AP exams, 343 students from 36 schools were awarded the AP Scholar Award. Forty-four Big Island students qualified for the honor.

The number of high school students participating in AP exams statewide has increased, according to DOE officials. In 2014-15, 5,631 students took at least one AP exam, which was an 8.9 percent increase compared to the previous year’s numbers.

A total of 8,270 exams were taken by those students, a 9.7 percent increase in exam numbers over the 2013-14 school year.


Test scores have also reportedly risen, with 3,338 students scoring three or better on the tests, an eight percent increase.

In a four-year time frame, AP exams taken and passed have increased by 30 percent.

Among the believed reasoning of the increases is the accessibility and expectations for college, according to DOE officials.

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