The Onalaska School District announced it will pay for one AP exam per student during their high school career, an incentive designed to inspire more students to take the exam.
Within the class of 2017, the district says 91 percent of students completed at least one AP course. 81 percent attempted at least on AP exam and 58 percent scored a 3 or higher on at least one exam.
"I've set a goal where I wanted to achieve highest honors for senior year and I couldn't really do that without taking this class so I decided I'd do it," junior Ian Janzen said. "The other three AP classes I'm taking because I wanted to challenge myself more than I usually do."
AP courses, also known as Advanced Placement, offer high school students a taste of what entry level college courses can be like. Students who take the AP exam in the spring who score a 3 or higher are usually awarded college credit, depending on where they attend school.
"My goal for them is to be able to read and write at a college level from the start," Debbie Jecklin, an AP Language Arts teacher, said. "It's also good work ethic, work habits and a higher level of expectations that they'll need to get used to."
The district's decision to pay for one exam per student comes as it implements its 2016-2023 strategic plan. The goal is to make the exams, which usually run around $90, accessible to every student interested.
"I really wanted to challenge myself because I know I can do the work," junior Shayna Berberich said. "So I really felt if I took this class it would put myself at a whole new level of what I know I can do."
Last year, 369 exams were administered to sophomores, juniors and seniors. The district says of those, 67 percent scored three or higher, deeming them eligible for college credit.
The district also said it receives no financial incentive from the state for having a higher number of students taking the AP exam.