Granite District's best scholars are surpassing both the state and the nation in the number of Advanced Placement courses they are taking and the related tests they are passing.

Last year, participation increased 2.7 percent. Students took 2,595 AP courses and passed 1,064 of the tests, for which they can be granted college credit, Darryl Thomas told the Granite Board of Education recently.The successful test rate exceeded the state average by 6.9 percent and the national average by 13.2 percent, said Thomas, head of testing in the district.

A recent College Board press release that ranked American schools by the number of tests taken showed Granite's Skyline High at 28th, he noted. But if the size of a school's student body is taken into consideration, several of the district's schools make a very good showing, Thomas noted.

The College Board report showed Alta High School in Jordan District ranking 17th in the nation in the number of tests given. But that school has 2,953 students and logically has more students who take and pass the AP tests, he said. Alta is probably the largest high school in Utah.

In a state comparison of schools that give more than two AP tests, Skyline was first, with 34.5 percent, followed by Bountiful and Viewmont high schools in Davis District, American Fork in Alpine and then Park City.

For the percentage of tests passed in the schools that gave more than two tests, Olympus, also a Granite school, had an 87.7 percent pass rate to top the list. Skyline was third with 86.4 percent and Cottonwood fourth with 85.8 percent. Both are Granite schools.

Others in the top five were Timpview of Provo District, second, and Brighton in Jordan District, fifth.

All of the five schools were above the 85 percent mark in their pass rates.