Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 42° Cloudy
News >  Washington Voices

North Central students all pass AP Cambridge course

North Central High School students risking their GPA in a new advanced placement course did it again – they aced the national exam.

This is the second year in a row for the first 24 students who took the two-year long AP Cambridge course, a specialty class designed to develop independent research and collaborative teamwork skills.

North Central piloted the course along with 15 other schools in the world starting in 2012-’13. The Spokane high school is the only public school in the nation to achieve a 100 percent pass rate.

“I honestly think it has a lot to do with the climate at NC, despite the 60 percent free-and-reduced rate,” said teacher Kelly Stromberg, referring to the meal program for low-income students. “They know you dig in and you work hard at things and seek help and assistance when you need it.”

The course is a two-year commitment. During the first year, students learn the “the critical path”: evaluating conclusions, arguments and reasoning for claims; finding the evidence for the aforementioned; determining the impact research had on their original perspectives; and then communicating their views.

The second year, the students do a research project: a 30-page paper they need to write and defend.

AP Cambridge is now open to all juniors and seniors in Spokane Public Schools because of the course’s success at North Central.

Stromberg, who spent the summer teaching other instructors the AP Cambridge curriculum and has spoken nationally about the course, thinks one of the reasons the course is so appealing is because students have the latitude to select topics related to their interests.

Her students are learning information and a way of thinking that could be beneficial to all students, she said. AP Cambridge teaches students to think about the credibility of sources, analysis and evaluation of information.

After learning the results, Principal Steve Fisk did an analysis of the first group of students who took the AP Cambridge course to determine if it helped on their college exams.

When Fisk ran the numbers, he found 80 percent of the students finished their SAT at the college standard level. Of the kids who took the PSAT in their junior year, 85 percent showed an improvement from their PSAT score to their SAT score, Fisk said.

“I’m really proud of our kids,” he said. “They are working really hard.”

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.