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ALTA HIGH STUDENTS LEAD THE STATE FOR 5TH YEAR IN PASSING AP EXAMS

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At Alta High School, AP stands for advanced placement - and admirable performance.

For the fifth time in as many years, the high school has led the state in the percentage of students taking - and passing - AP examinations. Completion of the college-level courses gives high schools students credit toward their higher education.Recently, the school was recognized by the State Office of Education for its achievements in the program. Keith Steck of the state office presented a certificate for outstanding performance in recognition of the 403 AP exams successfully completed by the Alta students for the 1988-89 school year.

In all, 570 exams were taken, for a success rate in excess of 75 percent. The school led both the state and also exceeded national averages for the tests.

"These kids make it popular to study," said Principal Douglas Anderson. There has been a domino effect in the school as the academic achievements create an atmosphere for more achievement. The school offers 15 advanced placement courses, including an art history class that is new this year.

Teachers are the key to success, Anderson said, and Alta's program has grown up around teachers who are willing - even eager - to go the extra mile the national program requires.

The number of students taking the test is increasing, as well as the number who pass. The increase in those taking the tests this year was 97 over last year. In many schools, only the creme de la creme of students take the test. That Alta is moving deeper into the student ranks and still enjoying greater-than-average success is a credit to the school.

Students are being encouraged to take precollege placement tests and vocational aptitude tests. Teachers then visit with them and their parents to shore up weaknesses and help them prepare for post-high school activities.

Anderson looks at the achievement from yet another angle. The average college hours earned in an AP class are 122. The number of college credits required for graduation averages 186.

"We had enough cumulative credit to graduate 26 kids from college," he says proudly. That is not to mention the savings to these students, their parents and the taxpayers who help pay for higher education.