AP Achievement

Carmel High School’s record number of students such as senior Michael Cheesman, who have taken advanced placement courses has the the school national recognition.

Carmel High School’s record number of
students such as senior Michael Cheesman,
who have taken advanced placement
courses has the the school national recognition.

Carmel High School tops the charts in Advanced Placement participation


Carmel High School has reached a plateau that very few high schools do.

CHS was recognized at the Indiana Advanced Placement Recognition Reception for attaining 46 percent student body participation in the National Advanced Placement program. Schools are recognized for reaching at least 25 percent of their student body taking and passing an advanced placement course.

“Carmel High School is one of a very small number of schools that met this threshold all five years,” Interim Supt. Dr. Steve Tegarden said.

“The National Advanced Placement staff noted the exemplary status that Indiana as a state has in the program,” Tegarden said. “Per capita, Indiana is the number one state in the nation in terms of accessibility on advanced placement exams.”

Daniel Altman, press secretary of the Indiana Dept. of Education, confirmed Indiana’s percentage of graduates who have taken at least one advanced placement exam leads the nation.

“Indiana also ranks fourth nationally in the percentage of graduates earning scores of three or higher on an AP exam,” he said.

Based on each state’s total number of students taking the exams, Indiana ranks 26th in exam performance.

Deputy Supt. of Public Instruction Danielle Shockey, Commissioner of Higher Education Teresa Lubbers and College Board’s Jill Jeppe presented awards at a ceremony in the Indiana Statehouse. Carmel representatives included Tegarden, Asst. Principal Karen McDaniel and CHS’s advanced placement geography teacher Justin Quick.

David Liang attended as Carmel’s student representative. His extensive advanced placement coursework contributed to his recent appointment to the U.S. Chemistry Olympiad team where he earned a gold medal.

Other local high schools earned awards for successful advanced placement programs:  Zionsville Community achieved 57 percent, Westfield 42 percent, Fishers 39 percent and Noblesville earned 28 percent.

Carmel offers more than 30 advanced placement courses for high school students. These courses follow a college board-certified curriculum and students earn college credit after successful scores on advanced placement exams.

All Indiana accredited universities recognize these credits, so students gain a head start on university studies with considerable savings.

An additional program may soon be an option for Carmel students. Tegarden expressed interest in a new Cambridge Capstone Program being tested in 17 high schools. Pilot programs are underway at schools in California, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.

“I am pleased to know of Carmel’s continued interest in this program,” said Amy Marsh, Indiana’s coordinator for advanced placement. “I believe the district will be a perfect fit for this program, with a student population well prepared for this rigorous path.”

The Cambridge program includes advanced placement courses with the addition of a research project and seminar.

“Ideally, a student would self-select this rigorous course of study,” Marsh said. “The program would challenge students and be a fantastic preparation for college academic work.”

“The new program aims to help students develop stronger backgrounds in independent research, collaborative teamwork and 21st-century knowledge and skills,” states the college board’s website.

Focus on the advanced placement program increased during former Indiana Supt. of Public Instruction Tony Bennett’s term. In 2009, when Indiana exam pass rates lingered at 10.4 percent, the state board set the 25-percent benchmark goal.


High schools throughout Hamilton and Boone counties have AP success stories.

  • Carmel High School – 46 percent student body participation
  • Zionsville Community High School 57 percent student body participation
  • Westfield High School – 42 percent student body participation
  • Fishers High School – 39 percent student body participation
  • Noblesville High School – 28 percent student body participation

In 2011, the U.S. Dept. of Education released an official list of graduation rates based on consistent national standards.

  • No. 1 – Iowa – 88 percent
  • No. 2 – Wisconsin and Vermont – 87 percent
  • No. 3 – Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas – 86 percent

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