Find out which OC school districts made the College Board’s eighth annual AP District Honor Roll

Five local school districts have been named to the College Board’s eighth annual AP District Honor Roll.

Capistrano, Garden Grove, Placentia-Yorba Linda, Santa Ana and Tustin are among 34 California districts — and 447 across the U.S. and Canada — recognized for expanding access to Advanced Placement courses and increasing the percentages of students scoring a 3 or higher on their AP exams. (A complete list of the districts in our state that made the Honor Roll is below.)

Desks in an empty classroomSince the 1950s, the New York-based College Board has administered the Advanced Placement program, which enables students to do college-level work while they’re still in high school. Students can also earn college credit and placement through AP exams, which are given in May and scored on a scale of 1 to 5.

These days, success in AP courses is generally considered a mark of high achievement, and educational researchers track access nationally as a way to measure equity.

State education officials also monitor AP performance and were happy to announce last week that, for the third straight year, California students placed fifth in the nation in the percentage of high school graduates who earned a 3 or better on their exams.

Drilling a little deeper, more than 30 percent of the state’s graduates scored at least a 3 on an AP exam during high school in 2017, topping the national rate of 22.8 percent. Over the last five years, the percentage of California students hitting this benchmark has increased by more than 7.5 percentage points, according to the state Department of Education. 

“Our students have once again made California a national leader in passing rigorous Advanced Placement exams, reflecting progress our state has made in our mission of preparing students for college and careers,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said.

“These results,” he added, “show how hard our educators, parents and students are working on key elements of academic success — providing access to rigorous courses, challenging students to take these courses, and providing students the help they need to succeed.”

On a related note, Khan Academy, which offers free personalized learning resources, recently teamed up with the College Board’s Advanced Placement program to become the official practice partner for AP — and there’s an OCDE connection here. In 2017, OCDE led a consortium of six regional county education offices announcing a partnership with Khan Academy aimed at increasing student access to its online tutoring tools.


The California school districts named to the College Board’s Eighth Annual AP District Honor Roll are:

  • Alvord Unified
  • Arcadia Unified*
  • Calaveras Unified
  • Capistrano Unified
  • Carlsbad Unified*
  • Ceres Unified
  • Claremont Unified
  • Colusa Unified
  • Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified
  • Desert Sands Unified
  • Diocese of Sacramento Education Office*
  • Dublin Unified*
  • Folsom-Cordova Unified
  • Garden Grove Unified
  • Glendora Unified*
  • Gustine Unified
  • Las Virgenes Unified*
  • Mammoth Unified*
  • Marysville Joint Unified
  • Mendota Unified
  • Milpitas Unified*
  • Pacific Grove Unified
  • Palm Springs Unified*
  • Palmdale School District
  • Palo Alto Unified*
  • Paramount Unified
  • Piedmont Unified
  • Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified*
  • Roseland School District
  • San Leandro Unified
  • San Mateo Union High School District
  • San Ramon Valley Unified*
  • Santa Ana Unified*
  • Tustin Unified
  • Williams Unified

(*District has achieved the honor for multiple years)