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Sign of the times: Dulaney students ace AP exams

Courtney May holding all the signs she earned for her AP exam scores.
Courtney May holding all the signs she earned for her AP exam scores. (Dulaney High School)

Yellow signs proclaiming “I Scored a High 5 on my AP Exam” have been popping up all over the area to celebrate the achievements of our local Baltimore County Public Schools students who earned top honors on the notoriously difficult Advanced Placement tests.

Our neighborhoods were well represented as Dulaney High School gave out 164 of the signs – the most among county schools – to students who earned the highest score of a 5 on their 2021 AP exam. During a year of challenges and remote learning, the dedication and hard work of these students was impressive with several earning 5s on multiple exams, including one student who received eight scores of 5!

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The school system’s Office of College & Career Readiness was responsible for this creative way of acknowledging these high achieving students.

For those unfamiliar with the Advanced Placement program, it is an offering of more than 30 courses, ranging from World History to Physics to English Literature, that allows students to take challenging college-level courses while still in high school. Each course culminates in a rigorous exam scored on a scale of 1 to 5 and is recognized internationally.

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Unlike the more traditional offerings, there are a pair of classes, AP Seminar and AP Research, which take an interdisciplinary approach and students create research projects based on topics of personal interest; they are assessed on critical thinking, research, collaboration, time management and presentation skills.

(L to R) Courtney May, Maria Hiaasen, and Ian Frain – being recognized for their recently earned distinction for their work in AP Seminar and AP Research at Dulaney High School.
(L to R) Courtney May, Maria Hiaasen, and Ian Frain – being recognized for their recently earned distinction for their work in AP Seminar and AP Research at Dulaney High School. (Dulaney High School)

At Dulaney, these classes are conducted under the leadership and teaching of Maria Hiaasen. A student is recognized with the AP Seminar and Research Certificate if they complete both classes by scoring at least a 3 on the assessments. Dulaney High’s Ian Frain was one of 11 BCPS students to receive the certificate and, for his research project, Ian conducted interviews with stockbrokers in his examination of the impact of COVID on stock trading. Recent graduate, Natalie Taylor also earned the distinction.

Additionally, there is an AP Capstone Diploma program designed to help students develop critical thinking, research, collaboration, and presentation skills and is achieved by scoring a 3 or above in AP Seminar and AP Research on at least four additional tests.

Courtney May, a current senior, was one of nine Dulaney High students and among the 38 BCPS students to achieve this distinction. For her research project, Courtney surveyed social studies students in multiple BCPS schools and conducted focus groups online for her research related to political polarization. Other Dulaney students who received the AP Capstone Diploma included Laila Ghabrial, Ian Gould, Vinay Khosla, Maura MacLaren, Austin Morris, Julia Nicoll, Saimadhav Sakhamuri and Cynthia Wang.

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Congratulations to all!

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