Chapman students and teachers see success on AP exams



AP Spanish teacher Amanda Coates instructs her AP Spanish class on si clauses. Coates had 100% of her students pass the exam

In a normal year, teaching, taking and earning a qualifying score (3 or higher) on an Advanced Placement (AP) exam is a challenge. In 2020-2021? It seemed especially impossible.

That’s not so, though, for Chapman teachers and students who routinely outperformed state and national averages on AP tests.

For example, 58% of AP Statistics students nationwide made a 3 or higher on their exam. At Chapman, it was 100%. Eighty percent of AP Spanish Language and Culture students nationwide made a 3 or higher. At Chapman, it was again 100%.

“I couldn’t really believe it,” said senior Emma Whitaker, a member of the AP Statistics class. “I worked so hard for it. Math has always been a struggle for me, so it was really nice just seeing the hard work pay off.”

AP Statistics teacher Carrie Forrest, who also had a very successful AP Calculus class, was equally thrilled with the results.

“I’m really proud of them, and I was very excited for their hard work to pay off,” Forrest said.

Forrest believes that the key to her students’ success was their motivation and dedication to the class.

“I think all of my students wanted to learn. They wanted to be in the class,” Forrest said. “I didn’t have to put a lot of pressure on them to do their jobs or to come in and work every day. They didn’t need me to push them to ask questions, and they didn’t need me to push them to do their work, so I think that made a big difference.”

AP Spanish Language and Culture teacher Amanda Coates echoed Forrest’s observations, praising her student’s desire and determination to learn.

“Most of the students in the class just had a real desire,” Coates said. “They really wanted to learn more Spanish, they wanted to be able to use the language with ease and fluidity, and they just had a determination that they were going to do everything they could to do their best.”

So what are Chapman’s AP teachers doing to help their students pass their exams even during unusual times? 

Assistant Principal Amy Driggers highlighted the importance of making the most of class time and the dynamic teacher-student relationship. In her opinion, Chapman’s success in both of these areas contributed to their success on AP exams. 

“For this last year, (the key to success) definitely was the working relationship between teachers and students because we had hybrid, we had off-campus things going on, students were quarantining, teachers were quarantining, and I think that the work that the teachers did specifically with kids resulted in the positive outcome we had with our testing,” Driggers said.