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International school in Taipei excels in Advanced Placement examinations

TAIPEI--An international school in Taipei has excelled again this year in the College Board's Advanced Placement (AP) exams, surpassing the global average by 32 percentage points.

A total of 93 percent of AP exam papers written by Dominican International School (DIS) students achieved scores of 3 or higher, four percentage points above the Taiwan average of 89 percent and 32 percentage points above the global average of 61 percent, according to the school.

Furthermore, 46 percent of the exam papers by DIS students achieved the maximum score of 5, the school said.

The AP exams, which test high school students' ability to perform at the college level, score students in a range of 1 to 5. Students who earn a score of between 3 and 5 may qualify for credits at colleges or universities.

This is the second consecutive year that DIS students' test results have surpassed both the global and Taiwan average.

The school's results have improved sharply in recent years. In 2010, only 58 percent of DIS students' AP papers achieved scores of 3 or higher, which was below both the global and national average.

Mercia de Souza, head of the school's language arts department, told CNA Thursday that she believes the hiring of teachers with PhD degrees, the growing use of online resources, and small class sizes are some of the factors that have contributed to the students' improved performances.

“There are three teachers with PhDs teaching AP courses. I think that is one of the reasons why,” said de Souza, who is also a professional development specialist at the school.

The growing use of online resources, such as online homework and tutorial programs, has also helped boost the student's scores, as they are able to receive immediate feedback and repeat the exercises, and teachers can easily monitor their progress, de Souza said.

She added that the small AP class size, with no more than 15 students, has also ensured that students received the individual attention they need to learn and thrive.

Over 2,700 students from 19 schools around Taiwan took part in the AP exam this year, according to data from the U.S.-based College Board, which administers the exam.

AP exams are given in May each year and the results are made available in July.

The Dominican International School is a private Roman Catholic school in Taipei. Most of its students are from Asia, although it is open to all students who hold a foreign passport.

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