Prince Edward chemistry excels

Published 5:56 am Thursday, September 1, 2016

Chemistry is traditionally seen as a difficult course in high school. That is certainly true at Prince Edward County high school — just ask Dr. Lutz’s students. However, the chemistry students of 2015-16 rose to the challenge and performed at a very high level on the chemistry SOL exam and Advanced Placement (AP) chemistry exam.

According to a release from the school, the students had an overall pass rate of greater than 92 percent on the SOL exam, which is very good, and is one of the top five pass rates Lutz’s students have achieved in his nine years teaching at Prince Edward County High School.

This year’s students also achieved more than 22 percent of students earning an advanced score, which is substantially higher than the next closest rate of 16 percent back during the 2012-13 school year. A score of 500 or above on the SOL is an advanced score and represents getting more than 90 percent of the questions on the exam correct. One student obtained a perfect score of 600.

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The AP chemistry class also had a fantastic year. This year’s class performed better than any other AP chemistry class Lutz has taught with six out of the seven students obtaining a qualifying score on the AP chemistry exam. Students must obtain a score of 3 or better (out of a maximum of 5) to obtain a qualifying score.

In addition the average score for the AP chemistry exam was 4.29 (out of 5) which is, by far, the best average any of Lutz’s classes has obtained in his six years of teaching AP chemistry. It also compares very favorably to the estimated national average of 2.76 (out of 5) based on preliminary scores being reported.

In many ways, the AP chemistry students’ performance does not come as a surprise, considering the group won two awards in the Virginia Section of the American Chemistry Society’s Chemistry Olympiad competition this year.

All of the Prince Edward County students who took chemistry this year should be applauded for their success.