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Colleges reducing credit for AP classes


LibrarianMom
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So, are AP classes still worth the extra work, worry and costs?

 

Students, teachers and colleges say yes because the more difficult course work better prepares students and makes them more attractive to colleges.

 

As always, you need to decide the best route for your own kid.

 

Good reasons for taking AP classes --

 

1) Rigorous coursework. My biggest regret with my older kids is that we didn't do more AP classes sooner. I have been impressed by the rigor and the depth of the classes. Are they for everybody? Absolutely not. But there is no one size fits all in education.

 

2) Attractive to colleges. If your kids score well on the AP exams, colleges know that your kids can survive rigorous classes. The exam scores serve as excellent outside verification of educational achievement.

 

3) The possibility of college credit. Some colleges give credit, and some don't. Our local community college doesn't give credit for AP exams! :) Some colleges give credit for a 5 only; some will accept only so many AP credits.

 

If your primary aim in taking AP classes it to get college credit, you need to really do your homework! There is some chance that you won't get the credit. But if your goal is providing rigorous coursework and appealing to colleges, AP courses are a great option.

 

~Happy AP Mom (our family has now survived 12 AP exams -- with more in the future!)

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I totally agree with Gwen. I am so thankful for AP courses and their providers. Homeschooling my children through highschool is made possible because of this. Though teens can be hormonal, I can never forget the moments of sweetness and intimacy of relationships that has happened over the past year. It's priceless.

Gwen, thank you for sharing your journey with us. You have been a source of wisdom, encouragement, and great blessing.

Nissi

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College has an educational function, but it is also in large part a credentialing scam and jobs program for professors and administrators. The article says some colleges have stopped giving credit for 3's. That is plausible. But I'd like to know if students who get C's in introductory chemistry at college do better than a 3 on the AP Chemistry exam. That would not be difficult experiment to conduct -- have them take the AP exam at the end of the course. If the C students in college chemistry get college credit but cannot score a 4 or 5 on the AP exam, and the college gives credit for C's but not 3's, I think it is just trying to maximize tuition revenue.

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College has an educational function, but it is also in large part a credentialing scam and jobs program for professors and administrators. The article says some colleges have stopped giving credit for 3's. That is plausible. But I'd like to know if students who get C's in introductory chemistry at college do better than a 3 on the AP Chemistry exam. That would not be difficult experiment to conduct -- have them take the AP exam at the end of the course. If the C students in college chemistry get college credit but cannot score a 4 or 5 on the AP exam, and the college gives credit for C's but not 3's, I think it is just trying to maximize tuition revenue.

 

Studies have been done on later performance of students in math who have had AP Calculus. I believe that they have a slight advantage, not huge.

 

I'm not sure that there is an equivalency between a 3 on an AP exam and a C in a college class. Further, when my son took chemistry at the CC, his final grade was not solely based on the final exam; rather it was determined by several exams, lab work, and Chem Skill Builder exercises. Some diligent students will perform better work on the those lab reports and homework exercises than on a comprehensive exam.

 

When a matriculating student receives credit for an AP course, a grade is not assigned to the class. Considering the scope of many AP courses, variations in texts (there are no official texts), I do not know how "fair" grades could be assigned for the variety of students across the country taking these courses.

 

Considering that a 3 is often assigned to students who are earning less than 50% of the possible points, do we even want to see a "C" assigned to this score?

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If your primary aim in taking AP classes it to get college credit, you need to really do your homework! There is some chance that you won't get the credit. But if your goal is providing rigorous coursework and appealing to colleges, AP courses are a great option.

 

~Happy AP Mom (our family has now survived 12 AP exams -- with more in the future!)

 

Gwen makes good points, as usual. I did want to add that the handwriting was on the wall a few years ago for AP at some of the highly selective schools which changed policies to say that credit would only be given for a maximum of three AP courses or that AP courses would be used solely for placement purposes. I think that parents of middle school children who are planning on having their students place out of freshman year via AP or CLEP may be in for a rude awakening depending on the college. Indeed, it may be a financial move on the part of these schools to limit the availability of these credits--I don't know.

 

Just be prepared that today's policy is not necessarily tomorrow's.

 

Jane

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prefer to have our kids take real college classes and get fair grades and transfer credit (often, but not always) for those. Imho, I'd much rather have a kid's grade for a real class than for a one-day exam.

 

While certain AP classes from online providers are rigorous, they aren't necessarily at our local public schools. At our college option, I was able to guarantee rigor by cherry-picking the courses. (ymmv)

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My niece just finished her college selection process. None of her "pool" gave credit for AP. She was a National Merit Finalist. Her pool was all what would be considered "select" colleges such as Vassar, Reed, etc. She was accepted everywhere she applied.

 

Her parting advice to her lower classmen was to skip them (and the IB program, unless they were planning on leaving the country for college).

 

The colleges told her that the reason they were no longer accepting APs had zilch to do with "rigor" - it had to do with the fact that they were moving to a type of pod teaching (I can't remember the name) for each major wherein courses where taught in conjunction with one another. It didn't work unless all the students were taking the same courses.

 

I probably have some of the info wrong there, but she just finished this up two weeks ago, so the info is quite recent.

 

 

a

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None of her "pool" gave credit for AP. She was a National Merit Finalist. Her pool was all what would be considered "select" colleges such as Vassar, Reed, etc. She was accepted everywhere she applied.

 

Her parting advice to her lower classmen was to skip them (and the IB program, unless they were planning on leaving the country for college).

 

Just a note -- Without the AP classes, she might well not have gotten into the prestigious colleges!

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Just a note -- Without the AP classes, she might well not have gotten into the prestigious colleges!

 

 

This was my thought, too.

 

My daughter took four AP courses and scored well (two fours and two fives). Of those, only one counted at her college (AP Statistics to eliminate a math requirement ~ thanks, Blue Hen!). Her five in AP Latin was not counted as it is the area in which she intends to major.

 

Nonetheless, we are glad that she took all of her AP classes and tests. They challenged her, exposed her to new material, and gave her a taste of college level expectations. I also believe that they were one of several factors that proved she was capable of college work and made her more desirable to the colleges to which she applied.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Just a note -- Without the AP classes, she might well not have gotten into the prestigious colleges!

 

Actually, they told her it didn't matter at all.

 

They weren't taking it into consideration for admission because they had no intention of using it at their universities. I know it sounds weird, but they didn't view it as a "you can do college level work" kind of thing. They figured that they either wanted her based on her grades, her essays, and her interviews or they didn't. And that she was either going to hang with the big boys at the school, or she wasn't. Either way, they were going to get paid.

 

The attitude is changing out there.

 

 

a

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Actually, they told her it didn't matter at all.

 

They weren't taking it into consideration for admission because they had no intention of using it at their universities. I know it sounds weird, but they didn't view it as a "you can do college level work" kind of thing. They figured that they either wanted her based on her grades, her essays, and her interviews or they didn't. And that she was either going to hang with the big boys at the school, or she wasn't. Either way, they were going to get paid.

 

The attitude is changing out there.

 

 

a

 

I know what they said, but I'd like to see their admitted vs rejected list based on students that did or didn't take AP (and score well) when those tests were available to them.

 

My VERY informal survey of asking some students at schools we are considering for middle son (higher level research schools) if they took AP's or not showed me that ALL of them had at least two - except for some whose schools did not offer them (that would be one student I talked with, but I assume there are others). I did not, obviously, poll them all.

 

I'm going to be looking hard to see if middle son can do Chem and Bio next year. I need to find a school that will offer them. The one I work at does not, BUT might be willing to order them just for me (well, him). I'm going to keep politely asking them and hope it works out. I think he COULD get in without them since he'll have higher ACT/SAT scores and writes well for his essay, but I think he'll have a better chance with two nice science AP's. Then... we're also after merit aid options.

 

He's also going to do a cc microbio course (won't count for college credit since it'll be in his major), public speaking (doesn't come naturally for him), and English (might count for credit).

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Actually, they told her it didn't matter at all.

 

They weren't taking it into consideration for admission because they had no intention of using it at their universities. I know it sounds weird, but they didn't view it as a "you can do college level work" kind of thing. They figured that they either wanted her based on her grades, her essays, and her interviews or they didn't. And that she was either going to hang with the big boys at the school, or she wasn't. Either way, they were going to get paid.

 

The attitude is changing out there.

 

 

a

 

I know what they said, but I'd like to see their admitted vs rejected list based on students that did or didn't take AP (and score well) when those tests were available to them.

 

My VERY informal survey of asking some students at schools we are considering for middle son (higher level research schools) if they took AP's or not showed me that ALL of them had at least two - except for some whose schools did not offer them (that would be one student I talked with, but I assume there are others). I did not, obviously, poll them all.

 

 

 

The key thing is that colleges want to see students who are motivated and who have challenged themselves. Obviously there is not one way to demonstrate this. One thing we heard repeatedly is that they want to see students who took advantage of their circumstances and opportunities. Frankly I think they might wonder about a student who attends a high school offering ten or fifteen AP courses with a high percentage of students who take AP tests, yet opts out of AP.

 

Some of the most competitive schools may reject an applicant with high test scores and five APs who fails to demonstrate some personal resilience for which they are looking or does not seem (for whatever reason) to be the right "fit" for the school. Let's face it: something like zipcode can help! Colleges like having a geographically diverse body. This is one of the most useful tips that I picked up at a home school to college lecture I attended. Given two applicants who are approximately equal on paper but only one available slot at the school, admission is usually offered to the student from the less represented state or zipcode.

 

It must be fascinating to read those essays and personal statements. I suspect that the passion in an unpolished essay may weigh more than a dispassionate polished essay--but what do I know?

 

I think that the key is to keep an open mind. Your student may be applying to a variety of schools with different admissions requirements. That no one path works for all. That things are going to change. That some kids will have stellar test scores, others won't, yet all could be invited to the table on the basis of who they are, what they have accomplished outside of testing or even school.

 

Another consideration is that admission is one thing, merit aid and scholarships are another! The complexity of the college application process is more than this parent realized when I began homeschooling, yet I somehow survived with the help and support of many on this board. So thanks again!

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The key thing is that colleges want to see students who are motivated and who have challenged themselves. Obviously there is not one way to demonstrate this. One thing we heard repeatedly is that they want to see students who took advantage of their circumstances and opportunities. Frankly I think they might wonder about a student who attends a high school offering ten or fifteen AP courses with a high percentage of students who take AP tests, yet opts out of AP.

 

Some of the most competitive schools may reject an applicant with high test scores and five APs who fails to demonstrate some personal resilience for which they are looking or does not seem (for whatever reason) to be the right "fit" for the school. Let's face it: something like zipcode can help! Colleges like having a geographically diverse body. This is one of the most useful tips that I picked up at a home school to college lecture I attended. Given two applicants who are approximately equal on paper but only one available slot at the school, admission is usually offered to the student from the less represented state or zipcode.

 

It must be fascinating to read those essays and personal statements. I suspect that the passion in an unpolished essay may weigh more than a dispassionate polished essay--but what do I know?

 

I think that the key is to keep an open mind. Your student may be applying to a variety of schools with different admissions requirements. That no one path works for all. That things are going to change. That some kids will have stellar test scores, others won't, yet all could be invited to the table on the basis of who they are, what they have accomplished outside of testing or even school.

 

Another consideration is that admission is one thing, merit aid and scholarships are another! The complexity of the college application process is more than this parent realized when I began homeschooling, yet I somehow survived with the help and support of many on this board. So thanks again!

 

I think you make some excellent points.

 

One thing I am wondering about (I really need to ask my sister and BIL about this, as they have been at a uni for a long time) is how kids with a bazillion AP courses are looked upon.

 

It is well known that AP courses are being watered down significantly in many schools. My best friend was threatened by parents and with losing her job for actually teaching AP Bio as, well, a college level Bio course. The parents wanted the cache, not the level. They assumed that their child would have to take the course again at uni, so they didn't even necessarily have their child *take* the test. The course still showed up on their transcript. (I don't know if this is allowable in all states, but it is in the one where she works)

 

Back to my point: we're a bunch of homeschool moms and dads who are all about learning and rigor; we want what is best for our kids educationally. And of course there are many, many non-hsing parents who think just as we do. But you know what? There are a WHOLE bunch who don't. Who are just gaming the system. They know that society (at least right now) sees AP courses as "better", because they are supposed to be college level (even when, in many cases they are not). So they sign their kids up for every single one that comes along.

 

At some point (which I think is also right now) someone is going to do the math and realize there aren't that many baby Einsteins in the world. Little Suzy can't possibly be taking 4 AP classes, 3 regular classes, running the cheer squad, starring in the theater productions, volunteering at the animal shelter, AND tutoring calculus 4 days a week if those AP classes are really college level courses. Or, rather, perhaps little Suzy can. But thousands of little Suzies? Doubtful.

 

As has been discussed on these boards before, we have outliers in the homeschooling community: kids that zoom ahead, or need to move at their own pace. Public school doesn't tend to work that way. You move at the pace given to you. To have thousands of kids capable (for lack of a better word) of taking coursework that 20 years ago only a few were able to pull off seems... fishy. And I think colleges are starting to notice that.

 

 

a

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It is so helpful to have all this up-to-date info for future planning, to know about future trends...

 

I have to agree with Gwen about the rigor of classes being important, especially for students who have zero access to CC classes, like mine.

 

And I think that at least for some AP classes, the level of teaching is higher than if it is just a course from a private provider that has no measurable, at least somewhat standardized, output at the end of the class. If you get an A from someone with little reputation, what does that mean you have paid for? It is very hard to tell in a course with which you have no personal experience (or can't remember your personal experience:001_smile:).

 

For us, the AP exams are useful for Swiss universities...It was interesting in the paper the other day, they were comparing all the different types of end of high school exams....French bacc, Swiss matu, British A levels, etc. For the US, they had the IB and AP exams....So for Europeans looking at the US for some show of rigorous courses, these exams show them that Americans can get up to a European level (at least in some subjects)...It helps dispell the myth that American high school is so substandard. It was the first time I'd seen it publicly announced...

 

So if the AP goes by the wayside, what will be the new "high standard" for people who cannot do the IB? I saw someone mention CLEP exams...will these take over?

 

Joan

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PSA FOR PARENTS who want their kids to take an AP class:

 

1. Just because a class is labeled "AP" means...well, nothing, really.

Why?

Anyone can teach an AP class as long as his or her principal puts them there.

 

2. Don't teachers have to have special certification?

No.

There are AP workshops and teachers are advised to take them, but they last for generally 3-5 days of class time. Teachers just have to sit there and be reasonably attentive and awake in order to get the certificate. They don't actually have to do or produce anything that reflects content-area mastery.

 

3. Don't teachers have to have a least a bachelor's degree in the content area?

No.

You'd think, wouldn't you, that an AP U.S. History teacher would have to have a bachelor's degree in U.S. history. But no! In fact, at a school with which I am familiar, one AP teacher has a degree in a completely different (and unrelated) subject...and it shows.

 

4. What if the AP teacher's students do poorly on the AP exam?

No one cares.

Well, maybe out there someone cares. However, more specifically, there's no actual reason for either the school or the College Board to care. The CB still gets its money whether the student passes or not. A "1" earns as much for them as a "5." The school still gets a kickback regardless of the students' scores. Also, the more students taking the exam, the higher up they get to be placed on the Mathews Challenge Index. They get to say, "Look, we have X percent of students taking the AP."

 

5. Doesn't the AP have to certify the course as AP?

Sure. It doesn't matter, though.

 

6. Why?

Three words: copy and paste.

 

7. What do you mean?

It's easy. A teacher -- and I'm not stating that this has been done, only that it could be -- could very easily get an AP-certified syllabus from a friend or colleague, tweak around one or two things, and resubmit it. Then, behind closed doors, s/he could continue to teach the same old garbage. There's nothing holding you to the content and no one to check whether or not what a teacher is doing is legitimately focused on the conent of the exam. Even a conscientious administrator is limited to what s/he knows: if I were in charge of English folks, I could tell if an AP class was really teaching AP material...but not if I were in charge of science folks.

 

8. What can we, as parents, do to ensure our kids are taught well?

 

1. Ask questions! Ask the high school counselor...

 

a. Who is teaching this class?

b. How long has she been teaching it?

c. What percentage of his students last year took the AP exam?

d. What percentage of her students passed the AP exam last year with a "3" or better?

e. What percentage of his students received a "1" or "2" (the lowest scores)?

c. What is her AP pass rate for last year? The year before?

d. Is her degree in this content area?

 

Also, check out www.ratemyteacher.com

This is not a perfect source for information, but it is revealing. Very. I have also found it to be, on the whole, rather accurate.

 

2. Insist on quality!

If your child's AP teacher (or prospective AP teacher) does not meet these criteria, do NOT enable the school to brag or crow about the numbers of students it has taking AP or enable the school to get AP kickbacks by signing your child up for the class. You'd be better off hiring a tutor or having your child take an AP test online or through distance education. Let the principal know exactly what you're doing and why -- politely, of course, but clearly.

Edited by Charles Wallace
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So if the AP goes by the wayside, what will be the new "high standard" for people who cannot do the IB? I saw someone mention CLEP exams...will these take over?

 

I don't think it is a question of going by the wayside.

 

It's more a question of colleges wanting students to pay more. In class semester long courses take more time and money - which directly financially benefit the colleges more than giving credit for anything else, be it IB, AP, CLEP, DANTES or portfolio assessment.

 

Colleges are reducing credit across the board, not just with APs.

 

And as a side note, you don't have to have ever taken a supposed AP course to take and do well on the AP exams.

 

For several years now (at least since I started planning and thinking about high school) a 3 was often not considered an acceptable score to get credit. Many required a 4 or even a 5. A 3 meant average comprehension but wasn't considered good enough to skip the course.

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I think you make some excellent points.

 

One thing I am wondering about (I really need to ask my sister and BIL about this, as they have been at a uni for a long time) is how kids with a bazillion AP courses are looked upon.

 

It is well known that AP courses are being watered down significantly in many schools. My best friend was threatened by parents and with losing her job for actually teaching AP Bio as, well, a college level Bio course. The parents wanted the cache, not the level. They assumed that their child would have to take the course again at uni, so they didn't even necessarily have their child *take* the test. The course still showed up on their transcript. (I don't know if this is allowable in all states, but it is in the one where she works)

 

:iagree:

As has been discussed on these boards before, we have outliers in the homeschooling community: kids that zoom ahead, or need to move at their own pace. Public school doesn't tend to work that way. You move at the pace given to you. To have thousands of kids capable (for lack of a better word) of taking coursework that 20 years ago only a few were able to pull off seems... fishy. And I think colleges are starting to notice that.

 

 

a

 

YEP.

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PSA FOR PARENTS who want their kids to take an AP class:

 

You made some good points in your post, Charles Wallace. However, I will quibble with point three.

 

3. Don't teachers have to have a least a bachelor's degree in the content area?

No.

You'd think, wouldn't you, that an AP U.S. History teacher would have to have a bachelor's degree in U.S. history. But no! In fact, at a school with which I am familiar, one AP teacher has a degree in a completely different (and unrelated) subject...and it shows.

 

One might make the same argument that because a homeschooling parent is uncredentialed that he or she cannot adequately teach or supervise his or her child's education. (An argument that many teachers' unions would doubtless support.) My husband's degrees are in science; however, he is an excellent and enthusiastic math teacher. Also consider those who self-educate for an AP test or a foreign language or in the Great Books, they may not have access to a teacher with a bachelor's degree but that is not to say that they cannot accomplish their goal.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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You made some good points in your post, Charles Wallace. However, I will quibble with point three.

 

 

 

One might make the same argument that because a homeschooling parent is uncredentialed that he or she cannot adequately teach or supervise his or her child's education. (An argument that many teachers' unions would doubtless support.) My husband's degrees are in science; however, he is an excellent and enthusiastic math teacher. Also consider those who self-educate for an AP test or a foreign language or in the Great Books, they may not have access to a teacher with a bachelor's degree but that is not to say that they cannot accomplish their goal.

 

Regards,

Kareni

 

Kareni, I fully admit that I gleefully painted with a very broad brush, and of course for every generality, there are a million exceptions (including that generality I just made :D).

 

That said, though, I'm not persuaded by arguments about teacher quality offered by the teachers' unions. Though I understand very well why they exist (and sympathize), I ultimately have come to feel that for every bit of good they've done, they've done more bad -- and teacher quality is one of the ways in which they've been worst. But I digress.

 

One might make the argument that HSing parents aren't adequate supervisors of their kids' educations, certainly. We all know the degree to which this is both true and false.

 

On upper-level subjects such as AP, that's actually where homeschooling is generally weakest, and most honest homeschooling parents will admit the very obvious fact that a parent (such as your husband) who can educate a child in science and math (and science, last I looked, generally requires a fairly intensive mathematical background, yes?) is not necessarily the same parent who can successfully educate a child in AP Literature...or in my case, the reverse.

 

Now, maybe you're lucky and your spouse is a brilliant lit. person and you are a brilliant math person. In that case, that's awesome...but even so, those same two wonderful parents can't necessarily take the kids to the heights of Virgilian Latin, KWIM? That's not a criticism of homeschooling, just an acknowledgement of simple reality.

 

We all know that. As homeschooling parents, therefore, we play to our strengths, and for those areas which are not our strengths, we often outsource -- to tutors, to HS, to CC, to regular college, to Kaplan, Miquon, or other tutorial centers, or find a co-op or a mentor or a friend. We do that because we know perfectly well that only the rarest among us is universally adept at the highest levels of all subjects from algebra to zoology.

 

Not surprisingly, classroom teachers are the same. The problem with classroom teachers and AP is that AP -- if it is to be taught well, that is -- essentially demands that a teacher know that subject very, very well...and that usually requires proficiency beyond the slender content-area requirements demanded by a degree in education.

 

Let's take biology. For an education degree in biology in my state, a teacher needs only one-third of the biology classes she would if she were to be a biology major and get a B.S. in the subject. Now, maybe she's a brilliant autodidact who has studied biology as a rogue science scholar, sure. Odds are much better that she's an education major with a biology concentration. Against someone who has a biology degree, her lack of knowledge will sooner or later be a factor.

 

Now, does this matter with Biology I for freshmen? Eh, probably not so much. Where the excrement meets the oscillation device, though, is in the higher levels of biology -- such as AP. That's when the essential lack of depth starts to show itself.

 

This isn't always true, of course. One of the most brilliant -- and I do not toss around that word every day -- teachers of science I know has an education degree with a concentration of physics. You might argue, "Well, Charles, then he wouldn't pass that part of your little questionnaire up there." True -- but then I'd take a look at the fact that about 98-100% of his AP Physics students take the test and that his pass rate is in the 80% and say, "Well, clearly this man knows his discipline."

 

It's all about playing the odds. Asking questions will help you determine whether or not your child's teacher knows what s/he's talking about. Too many parents -- even homeschooling parents, who should know better -- automatically assume that the school hires competent employees, that they put the best employees in the right places, and that those teachers know what they are doing.

 

Not so.

 

Thank you, though, for your post!:)

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It's more a question of colleges wanting students to pay more. In class semester long courses take more time and money - which directly financially benefit the colleges more than giving credit for anything else, be it IB, AP, CLEP, DANTES or portfolio assessment.

 

Probably has something to do with it.

 

My Alma Mater, which did not recognize AP tests at all in the 1980's, now allows students to skip courses with 4's or 5's from several different AP tests. Since everyone will be there exactly four years anyway (barring extenuating medical situations), those courses are replaced by more advanced courses in their major and the college doesn't save any money at all. They clearly see a 4 or 5 on the AP test as still indicating some level of proficiency.

 

 

On upper-level subjects such as AP, that's actually where homeschooling is generally weakest, and most honest homeschooling parents will admit the very obvious fact that a parent (such as your husband) who can educate a child in science and math (and science, last I looked, generally requires a fairly intensive mathematical background, yes?) is not necessarily the same parent who can successfully educate a child in AP Literature...or in my case, the reverse.

 

"Upper level?" Have I missed something? Which AP tests replace a 300 or 400 level college course?

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I don't think it takes brillance to learn or to teach any subject - it takes a desire to learn it and a desire to teach it. I think if one seeks knowledge, for the most part they can find it.

 

I think if a parent (or anyone else ftm) doesn't want to learn something or teach something - that's fine. Outsourcing is big money and competitive for a reason.

 

I do agree most parents don't look further than the AP attachment to a course title. That means nothing. On that I agree with you strongly.

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Probably has something to do with it.

 

My Alma Mater, which did not recognize AP tests at all in the 1980's, now allows students to skip courses with 4's or 5's from several different AP tests. Since everyone will be there exactly four years anyway (barring extenuating medical situations), those courses are replaced by more advanced courses in their major and the college doesn't save any money at all. They clearly see a 4 or 5 on the AP test as still indicating some level of proficiency.

 

yes. Never a 3 tho. I don't think any I've ever looked at gave credit for a 3.

 

 

"Upper level?" Have I missed something? Which AP tests replace a 300 or 400 level college course?

 

No. You haven't missed anything. I think CW must have intended to say "higher" level? I do think that a very few qualify sometimes as long as it's not in the major.

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"Upper level?" Have I missed something? Which AP tests replace a 300 or 400 level college course?

 

My apologies for any lack of clarity. Since we were generally talking about high school and AP, when I said "upper-level" in that context, I meant senior-level high school classes. Sorry for any ambiguity.

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Also consider those who self-educate for an AP test or a foreign language or in the Great Books, they may not have access to a teacher with a bachelor's degree but that is not to say that they cannot accomplish their goal.
:iagree:

To me, this is the key point. In the case of AP testing, it is the *student* who is taking the course and the test, not the parent.

One might make the argument that HSing parents aren't adequate supervisors of their kids' educations, certainly. We all know the degree to which this is both true and false.

 

On upper-level subjects such as AP, that's actually where homeschooling is generally weakest, and most honest homeschooling parents will admit the very obvious fact that a parent (such as your husband) who can educate a child in science and math (and science, last I looked, generally requires a fairly intensive mathematical background, yes?) is not necessarily the same parent who can successfully educate a child in AP Literature...or in my case, the reverse.

 

Now, maybe you're lucky and your spouse is a brilliant lit. person and you are a brilliant math person. In that case, that's awesome...but even so, those same two wonderful parents can't necessarily take the kids to the heights of Virgilian Latin, KWIM? That's not a criticism of homeschooling, just an acknowledgement of simple reality.

 

We all know that. As homeschooling parents, therefore, we play to our strengths, and for those areas which are not our strengths, we often outsource -- to tutors, to HS, to CC, to regular college, to Kaplan, Miquon, or other tutorial centers, or find a co-op or a mentor or a friend. We do that because we know perfectly well that only the rarest among us is universally adept at the highest levels of all subjects from algebra to zoology.

At this point, I am convinced that MomsintheGarden can successfully lead a child to getting a 5, which is mastery level, on any AP test, given the child has sufficient aptitude and motivation and there is sufficient time for preparation. She is doing this without any of the outsourcing approaches listed above, but rather she is bringing in the resources needed for the child to learn at home. These resources include a sufficiently rigorous textbook, a scope and sequence for the course and lecture or other multimedia materials, as appropriate. Often times, she comes to these forums to find out which resources are best and to get assistance from other moms who are doing or have done the same thing. In addition, she provides the schedule, the incentives and the oversight for the student to achieve the goals in the proper time. In other words, this approach is NOT different than teaching any other homeschool course to mastery. The fact is that there are currently amazing resources available to our homeschools to allow us to achieve the goals we set before us.
I don't think it takes brillance to learn or to teach any subject - it takes a desire to learn it and a desire to teach it. I think if one seeks knowledge, for the most part they can find it.
Precisely!

 

Are there limits to what a homeschool child can learn at home? In certain fields I believe there are. But I see no reason why a bright, motivated homeschool child cannot achieve the same or higher level of mastery than their counterparts sitting in an AP classroom. Anything they lose by not having first-hand access to an expert teacher can be fully compensated and even improved upon through the incredible flexibility and opportunities offered by homeschooling.

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Reg and Moms in the Garden, thank you for sharing your experiences with preparing for APs with your children. Every bit of wisdom shared encourages me to continue to pursue excellence in homeschooling.

Blessings,

Nissi

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Gauging by the number of replies to this thread, it is easy to see that AP classes are another "hot" topic.

 

We will begin our AP journey next year and I'm afraid to say that part of it is playing the game, and part of it is to add rigor to our homeschool high school experience. Based upon the homeschool kids we know, the classes they took, and the universities they were accepted to, we don't really feel we have a choice. Fortunately, my dd is excited about taking her first AP class and is eager to see how well she can handle the work. She is not worried about whether or not she'll earn college credit for the class. She is all about the joy of learning at this point, and for that I am grateful.:)

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We will begin our AP journey next year and I'm afraid to say that part of it is playing the game, and part of it is to add rigor to our homeschool high school experience.

 

Renee,

 

Yes, always a hot topic, especially this time of year. ;) There are very valid reasons for doing AP and I think it works best when a student chooses which course and which teacher based on that particular student's goals. Dd1 and ds2 will take AP Eng. Lang next year (and hopefully AP Lit the next) because we've been so underimpressed with the freshman English classes. It's easy to poke at AP because it's now so mass marketed.

 

Lisa

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For anyone who is reading this thread and feeling discouraged, I want to throw out there that my son was accepted at three "Colleges That Change Lives," fine liberal arts schools, and three other regular old liberal arts colleges as well, and he qualified for many scholarships. He did not take any AP classes. He did take an "Honors Biology" class at the local high school, which was a bit of a joke (extra credit for everything, 104% for his final grade?), though he did learn quite a lot. While many families may want to choose to play the AP game, and AP classes may suit a particular child well, we have not found that they are necessary.

 

In fact, my son's SAT scores are a bit low, and his community college grades are just meh. But. He is an interesting kid, who has a broad range of knowledge about the world and is passionate about music (which, I would say, has been an area of specialization for him). What really pricked the ears of the college admission counselors was that my son reads The Economist for fun, is planning to convert a car to electric, and has read every historical novel about the Napoleonic Wars that has been written.

 

YMMV

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For anyone who is reading this thread and feeling discouraged, I want to throw out there that my son was accepted at three "Colleges That Change Lives," fine liberal arts schools, and three other regular old liberal arts colleges as well, and he qualified for many scholarships. He did not take any AP classes. He did take an "Honors Biology" class at the local high school, which was a bit of a joke (extra credit for everything, 104% for his final grade?), though he did learn quite a lot. While many families may want to choose to play the AP game, and AP classes may suit a particular child well, we have not found that they are necessary.

 

In fact, my son's SAT scores are a bit low, and his community college grades are just meh. But. He is an interesting kid, who has a broad range of knowledge about the world and is passionate about music (which, I would say, has been an area of specialization for him). What really pricked the ears of the college admission counselors was that my son reads The Economist for fun, is planning to convert a car to electric, and has read every historical novel about the Napoleonic Wars that has been written.

 

YMMV

 

Somehow, I think this will sound a lot like my kid before it is all over. Only substituting Richard Feynman and Black Holes for the Napoleonic Wars, an inordinate amount of bagpiping performance, history, and music theory, and the conviction that it isn't that we need to convert the cars to electric, it's that we need to fundamentally redesign the construct of the motor...

 

Not enough hours in a day.

 

 

a

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Somehow, I think this will sound a lot like my kid before it is all over. Only substituting Richard Feynman and Black Holes for the Napoleonic Wars, an inordinate amount of bagpiping performance, history, and music theory, and the conviction that it isn't that we need to convert the cars to electric, it's that we need to fundamentally redesign the construct of the motor...

 

Not enough hours in a day.

 

 

a

 

Oh, yes. And aggressively promote alternative transportation and low carbon emissions mass transit options. And in the meantime, walk or ride bikes everywhere one needs to go. :D

 

Bagpipes. Keep College of Wooster in mind.

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Bostonian hit it on the head--not accepting testing out of classes thru AP or CLEP is just another way for the accrediting institution (aka college) to bring in more revenue. More colleges are not accepting CLEP scores either now--not just higher score needed, they won't take it period.

It sucks.

Cash flow is always the bottom line in any industry, including the education industry. This alone makes me rethink some cultural values. And thus impact my action/behavior.

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I don't know that finances are why colleges are headed this way. Most kids take 4 years at college no matter what credit they bring in. A few might graduate early, but probably not enough that it is a big drain on the college. I think what these colleges are noticing is how AP credits may not amount to much.

 

I'm not sure it takes all that much to get a 4-5 on most AP tests. There's a pattern to the way they ask the questions, and a student can do pretty well by just mastering the prep book. Does the prep book provide depth and understanding? Well, not really all that much. A good class would provide more. And once a kid takes a few AP tests, they kind of get the knack of it. It gets easier to do well without learning as much.

 

My daughter took a few APs and a number of college classes. A few of those college classes weren't all that challenging -- they probably were at an AP level. The classes that were better exceeded the APs in learning opportunities.

 

From what I've heard from people, it's the faculty that are not wanting to give out too much AP credit. Their reason is that the students who they've given AP credit to in the past really didn't know the material the way the students who had taken the college class did. It caused problems later on.

 

And as for the idea of giving the AP test to students who have just finished the college class to calibrate the test -- that is what the college board claims they have done. (However, I suspect these kids must have been prepped for the AP exam in particular.)

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I don't know that finances are why colleges are headed this way. Most kids take 4 years at college no matter what credit they bring in. A few might graduate early, but probably not enough that it is a big drain on the college. I think what these colleges are noticing is how AP credits may not amount to much.

 

I wouldn't discount the entirely, even though undoubtedly some students aren't well -prepared by AP courses (or any courses.) The graduation rates I've seen published lately have been for 5 years, with a few giving the 6 year grad rate. Starting with 4 or 5 AP credits would really cut down on the number of students needing 5 years.

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I wouldn't discount the entirely, even though undoubtedly some students aren't well -prepared by AP courses (or any courses.) The graduation rates I've seen published lately have been for 5 years, with a few giving the 6 year grad rate. Starting with 4 or 5 AP credits would really cut down on the number of students needing 5 years.

 

I'd have to do some hunting but actually it rare for APs to affect how many years they are in. A lot of it is class schedules, personal finances, and so forth.

 

I'd be willing to bet it's cost driven. Really from an college perspective, there is no reason to offer credit for AP when they stand to finacially gain by not doing so.

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