VCS' Cambridge International Program Receives National Award

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DELAND – Volusia County Schools doubled its student enrollment in the prestigious Cambridge International program in its first three years of participation and had a 94% pass rate for the program’s Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) diploma.
 
For that success, Cambridge International has selected VCS as its District of the Year for medium-size U.S. school districts for the 2020-2021 school year.

“We are honored to be selected for this national recognition,” said Superintendent Dr. Scott Fritz, “Volusia County Schools’ vision is to ‘create life-long learners prepared for an ever-changing global society,’ and the Cambridge International program’s broad, international curriculum provides a strong foundation for our students as they prepare for college and careers.”

“Our faculty and administrators have worked very hard to provide a high-quality program, and we’re proud of the accomplishments of our Cambridge International students,” Dr. Fritz said. “This award is a testament to their hard work and dedication and reflects our commitment to academic excellence.”

Cambridge International started at three VCS high schools in fall 2017 and has since expanded to five high schools – Deltona, New Smyrna Beach, Pine Ridge, Seabreeze, and University. Nearly 1,700 Volusia students are currently taking AICE or pre-AICE diploma courses.

The advanced high school program offers the AICE diploma based on an international curriculum and examination system that emphasizes the value of broad and balanced study. The program is tailored to students’ interests, abilities, and futures plans and ensures students master skills critical for success in university study and employment. Students who pass the exams for each required course earn college credit. This pre-university program was developed by Cambridge University.

The District of the Year recognition is awarded to three school districts in the United States – in large, medium- and small-size district categories – based on three criteria:

  1. increasing access to the rigor of the Cambridge International curriculum
  2. sustaining or improving student performance (based on the 2019-20 exams)
  3. committing to equity in education for all students

“Since 2017-2018, your district has expanded access to Cambridge International exams by well over 100% and has achieved a phenomenal pass rate (averaging 94% in 2019-20),” said Mark Cavone, Regional Director, North America, Cambridge Assessment International Education, in a letter to VCS Superintendent Dr. Scott Fritz. “Congratulations to you, your district, schools, parents, and students. Thank you for partnering with Cambridge International.”

Enrollment in Cambridge International has doubled since the program began in Volusia County Schools four years ago; a quarter of all students at the five participating high schools are now enrolled. VCS has successfully increased enrollment of minority students, English Language Learners, and economically disadvantaged students as part of that growth.

VCS has had strong exam pass rates for the program, including an overall 94% Cambridge International exam pass rate in 2020, 100% for the Spanish Language exam, 97.3% for the English General Paper, 94.3% for the Global Perspectives exam, and 91.7% for the Biology exam.