Hall Student Earns Rare Perfect Score on Advanced Placement Exam

Owen Wang. Courtesy photo

West Hartford resident Owen Wang, a junior at Hall High School, earned a perfect score on the AP United States Government exam.

By Ronni Newton

When Hall High School student Owen Wang, a member of the class of 2025, took the Advanced Placement (AP) United States Government exam in the spring of 2023 he not only earned the top score of 5, but he was one of just 48 students worldwide to receive a perfect score by receiving every point possible on the exam.

“We are so proud of Owen for this amazing achievement,” said Hall Principal Dan Zittoun. “Just getting a 5 on an AP exam is impressive, but to get a perfect score is truly impressive. It is another great example of what can happen at Hall when you combine Owen’s commitment to learning  with the teaching and expertise by his teacher, Mrs. Peling.”

More than 300,000 students took the exam, and social studies teacher Colleen Peling said she is so proud of Wang for his achievement, and for the hard work he did throughout the year in class.

“I am so happy for Owen and very proud of his achievement,” Peling said. “This past spring 328,959 students from around the world took the AP U.S. Government and Politics exam. Only 48 students earned a perfect score,” she said.

According to Peling, the exam includes 55 multiple choice questions as well as four styles of essays. “In the writing portion of the exam, students need to compare and contrast Supreme Court cases, analyze data and charts, and develop an argument and use evidence from our nation’s foundational documents to support their claim.  Owen’s perfect score is a testament to all of the hard work that he dedicated to his studies throughout the year. The opportunity to work with Owen and so many amazing students like him is one of the many reasons that I love teaching Social Studies at Hall High School. At a point in our nation’s history where civic education is so important, the AP U.S. Government and Politics curriculum gives students the essential skills and knowledge they need to be active and engaged citizens in the future,” she said.

West Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Paul Vicinus, who also shared the news at the Sept. 19 Board of Education meeting, congratulated Wang on the “outstanding and truly impressive accomplishment. As a district, we have been a long-time supporter of the Advanced Placement program, encouraging all students to access the rich and relevant curriculum of AP in at least one interest area before graduation. Owen’s achievement of a perfect score is just another example of the ways in which students demonstrate their boundless potential when motivated and inspired and provided the chance to participate and excel. Kudos to Owen on this incredible achievement,” Vicinus said.

The Advanced Placement program is intended to challenge students in preparation for success in college, and also provides the opportunity to earn college credits or placement in advanced courses.

“AP courses and exams are college-level, requiring great focus and persistence among participating students,” said Trevor Packer, head of the Advanced Placement Program. “We applaud the educators who encourage students to challenge themselves, who motivate and encourage diverse students to achieve their academic potential.”

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