INDIANAPOLIS - Six Hamilton County high schools have won Advanced Placement Awards from the Indiana Department of Education.

To be selected, schools must have at least 25 percent of their 2016 graduating class receiving a 3, 4, or 4 on an AP exam.

Hamilton County schools meeting the criteria are:

• Noblesville High School

• Westfield High School

• Carmel High School

• Fishers High School

• Hamilton Southeastern High School

• University High School of Indiana

"Research tells us time and again taking and passing AP courses prepares students for the rigors of the college classroom," said Dr. Jennifer McCormick, Indiana superintendent of Public Instruction. "I am pleased with the dedication these schools and their educators have shown in providing a head start into higher education for their students. I applaud the success of each student who worked hard to study and pass their advanced placement courses and exams."

AP is a research-backed method to facilitate student participation and success through delivery of college-level courses and corresponding exams in the high school setting.

Qualified students who pass AP courses enroll in college at higher rates than other groups of students, require significantly less remediation, and have higher average first year grade point averages and credit hours earned than other groups of students.

For the 2015-16 school year, 11,904 graduating students passed at least one AP exam with a 3 or better. This is an increase of 6 percent over the year prior, and an increase of 114 percent in the past 10 years.

For a complete list of awarded schools, please visit: