The board had decided that any student who wanted to take a high school honors or college-level course could do so. The only prerequisite was a desire to work hard.
The School Board also said that anyone taking difficult Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses had to take the special AP and IB exams written and scored by independent experts and administered in May. The number of exams nearly doubled, and passing rates on those college-level tests dropped sharply. In 1998, 75 percent of students taking AP tests in the county received passing scores. In 1999, that figure was only 62 percent.