Advanced placement enrollment is up 8 percent in Wisconsin

Advanced placement enrollment is up 8 percent in Wisconsin. And the increase in participation is happening in La Crosse. In just five years Central High School has seen the number of students enroll in these challenging courses double.

Advanced Placement U.S. History teacher Kevin Colburn has worked at Central High School for 19 years now, but in the last four he’s been able to train more students at a college level. That’s because the school has changed its protocol in allowing students to take AP courses.

“We used to make them get permission basically to take advancement courses by getting teacher signatures and we don’t do that anymore,” Colburn said.

By removing the barrier the number of students enrolled in Colburn’s class has gone up 21 percent since 2012.

“When I first started it was just for the top kids and now we are seeing more and more opportunity for different kids and more kids to challenge themselves,” Colburn said.

He said the majority of students are rising to occasion.

“I was asking everyone ‘Oh should I take the test? Because I’m going to fail it’ But I took it anyway and I got a four and I was really proud. Because now I got some college credit under my belt for when I apply,” said Sally Manniger, took A.P. U.S. history at Central.

Even if students don’t get the college credit, there are still benefits to taking AP classes. Like learning at a faster pace, better understanding the demands of college courses, and gaining confidence along the way.

“A student’s chance of finishing college in five years goes up by 20 percent, just by taking the test,” said Jeff Fleig, principal at Central High School.

“More and more kids once they get in it find out they can do it, and I think it’s going to be more likely for them to really think that college is something they can do,” Colburn said.

Nearly 90 percent of students in A.P. U.S. history at Central took the A-P test. And about half of them went on to get college credit, last spring.