Education / Schools

Hollister High School AP scores, enrollment numbers recovering

Advanced Placement program prepares students for college-level coursework.

This article was written by BenitoLink intern Juliana Luna

On Nov. 8, Hollister High School Principal Adrian Ramirez reported the Advanced Placement program saw a 13% increase in scores of 3 or higher on tests. During the 2020-21 school year, the school’s average score of 2.8 decreased to 2.4. But in the 2021-22 school year, the scores bounced back to 2.8.

The report to the San Benito High School Board of Trustees covered the enrollment numbers and test results, including where the school stands in state and national performance rankings.

The AP program, run by the College Board, prepares students for college-level coursework while attending high school. As part of the program, students take an exam for each AP class to measure their overall performance. Students who receive a 3 or better on a 5-point scale may earn college credit to go towards their general education requirements when they enroll in college.

Ramirez said that between 2020-21 and 2021-22, there were more AP students signing up for exams by 60% to 79%. Despite the increase in exam taking, the school saw student enrollment for AP courses drop by 168 students between the 2020-21 and 2021-22 years. 

California School Dashboard demographics state 3,285 students were enrolled in HHS for the 2020-21 school year and rose to 3,439 in 2021-22. 

“Our current [AP] enrollment as of today is 812 students,” said Ramirez. “We are near the enrollment area. It’s a good mark for us; we have one of the highest points of enrollment in the last three pandemic years. We are on track to get back into the 800 mark.”

Out of the 21 AP courses offered at HHS, 13 had an overall passing rate below the state average. Additionally, 10 classes showed a drop in enrollment of 10 or more students. Starting from the 2018-19 school year to 2020-21, six courses had passing rates that were significantly below both the state and worldwide averages. 

The report stated the school’s 2021-22 AP program consisted of 62% girls and 38% boys.  

The disparity of participation in the program across ethnic groups was minimal. Ramirez said for Hispanic/Latino students, the “opportunity gap has almost completely disappeared at HHS,” meaning the percentage of white and Hispanic/Latino students enrolled in AP courses, 19% and 73%, respectively, is close to the ethnic makeup of the student population (17% and 75%)

Ramirez noted that Nov. 8 was the deadline for students to register for exams. “One of the major contributions that the district has provided to AP students since I was principal here, has been the contribution of an average of $30,000 for AP fees,” said Ramirez. According to the College Board, AP exam fees in U.S schools are up to $99 per test.

“In terms of enrollment,” Ramirez said, “we still need to identify and keep an eye on those individual courses that have more decreases and work with departments to promote the benefits of taking AP courses starting in the ninth grade.” 



The BenitoLink Internship Program is a paid, skill-building program that prepares local youth for a professional career. This program is supported by Monterey Peninsula Foundation AT&T Golf Tour, United Way, Taylor Farms and the Emma Bowen Foundation.


Juliana Luna

Juliana Luna is Hollister born and raised. She recently graduated from San Benito High School, 2021. Currently attending Gavilan College where she plans to earn her Business Associate’s Degree to transfer to a four-year university. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Pinnacles National Park, and horse riding.