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"AP Classes Are a Scam"


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Or we can start it here. :)

 

Article: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/10/ap-classes-are-a-scam/263456/#

 

I say "Bah!" AP courses elevated the level of education that I got at my public high school--teachers who might otherwise have slacked were asked to live up to a high(-ish) national standard. My college did not give credit for any AP score in any course, but that made no difference to me--my AP courses were all great experiences.

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I read the article and want to comment on a few of his arguments:

 

AP courses are not, in fact, remotely equivalent to the college-level courses they are said to approximate.

 

I concur. In many cases, they are not on par with the introductory college course they are supposed to replace.

 

The traditional monetary argument for AP courses -- that they can enable an ambitious and hardworking student to avoid a semester or even a year of college tuition through the early accumulation of credits -- often no longer holds. Increasingly, students don't receive college credit for high scores on AP courses; they simply are allowed to opt out of the introductory sequence in a major. And more and more students say that's a bad idea, and that they're better off taking their department's courses.

 

 

I do not see this as a negative: freeing the capable student to take more higher level courses earlier is a good thing. And the student is also not forced to take the AP exam and opt out of the intro course; he can simply choose to take the class and gain the knowledge and begin the intro sequence at college .Choice is always good.

 

The scourge of AP courses has spread into more and more high schools across the country, and the number of students taking these courses is growing by leaps and bounds. Studies show that increasing numbers of the students who take them are marginal at best, resulting in growing failure rates on the exams.

 

 

That may well be the case;however, I still consider the option of having a more challenging class a good thing. If unprepared students take the course and fail the exam, that is their problem, not the problem of the AP course.

Since the syllabus has to be standardized, I do not see how these students would water down the course for the others. Of course, it would be beneficial if schools used strict standards in the decision which students to admit to advanced classes.

 

The AP program imposes "substantial opportunity costs" on non-AP students in the form of what a school gives up in order to offer AP courses, which often enjoy smaller class sizes and some of the better teachers. Schools have to increase the sizes of their non-AP classes, shift strong teachers away from non-AP classes, and do away with non-AP course offerings, such as "honors" courses. These opportunity costs are real in every school, but they're of special concern in low-income school districts.

 

 

The education system in this country is strongly geared towards the mediocre and low performing students. Much more resources go towards the low end than are spent for gifted students. The AP system is a tiny step to offer capable students an education on their level and give them an education that is a little bit comparable to what college bound students are offered in other developed countries.

 

To me, the most serious count against Advanced Placement courses is that the AP curriculum leads to rigid stultification -- a kind of mindless genuflection to a prescribed plan of study that squelches creativity and free inquiry. The courses cover too much material and do so too quickly and superficially. In short, AP courses are a forced march through a preordained subject, leaving no time for a high-school teacher to take her or his students down some path of mutual interest. The AP classroom is where intellectual curiosity goes to die.

 

This may be a valid concern- IF the teacher would be qualified to teach his subject in a free and creative way were these restrictions not present. From what I hear about math and physics education in high school, a large portion of teachers do not offer these quality courses.

I also disagree that the teacher should teach according to "mutual interest"; this can not work in a classroom with 30 students, and I would expect the teacher to cover a certain amount of foundational material, whether the students express an explicit interest or not.

 

Despite the rapidly growing enrollments in AP courses, large percentages of minority students are essentially left out of the AP game. And so, in this as in so many other ways, they are at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to college admissions.

 

If this is the case, that is unfortunate and should be remedied. But I strongly reject the idea that, in order not to disadvantage a certain group, all other groups may not be offered additional educational opportunities- to me, that is not the way to achieve a level playing field.

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On a policy level there are certainly problems and limitations with the AP system right now. There are a too many students who take AP classes but are unable to pass the tests. In our local schools it seems like the decision ends up being APs or classes with unmotivated students. Too many APs can be stressful particularly during junior year.

 

That said, I suggest looking strategically at what AP courses can do for your homeschool and making an individual decision based on the needs of your kids. I disagree with the claim of the article that few colleges provide credit or that the credit is meaningless for most students. APs can help improve a homeschoolers profile for admissions and scholarships. Even many selective colleges grant credit for APs. Placing out of courses can allow a student more flexibility for more challenging courses earlier graduation, a double major, study abroad, etc. Particularly for kids who go to state universities careful planning with APs can be a big benefit. I'm not suggesting every student should take APs, but I think it would be foolish for homeschoolers to dismiss the option because there are problems on a policy level.

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I haven't read the article, but I do agree that dual-enrollment courses are better quality than AP courses. In general, AP course credits are not accepted because the quality of the course is rarely taught at the same level of rigor required for college credit. Most community colleges now offer dual-enrollment programs so that students who would qualify to take AP courses have the opportunity to take the same courses and actually get credit for them.

 

When I worked as the curriculum director for a charter district in AZ, I didn't even consider AP courses for my students. I chose to offer students dual-enrollment courses through Grand Canyon University. They are taught by their instructors so the credit cannot be rejected because it is from an accredited university.

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I haven't read the article, but I do agree that dual-enrollment courses are better quality than AP courses. In general, AP course credits are not accepted because the quality of the course is rarely taught at the same level of rigor required for college credit. Most community colleges now offer dual-enrollment programs so that students who would qualify to take AP courses have the opportunity to take the same courses and actually get credit for them.

 

 

Having taught Calc 1 at a cc, I strongly disagree.

I think someone passing the AB Calc exam with a 4 or a 5 will likely know the material better than someone who has passed my class with a B or a C.

 

It's really going to vary based on the school. AP exams at least are consistent.

 

It also really varies according to the instructor. There's one at our cc who passes anyone with a pulse, gives take home exams, and cancels class more often than he's there. I'm just waiting for a lawsuit against him and the college. And his RMP evaluations are shining, so when I hear people suggest using RMP as a resource, I really cringe.

 

I can see having my son do some dual enrollment credit at our cc, but I will be viewing every course he takes there as just for high school credit and encouraging him to retake everything at his 4 year (with some possible exceptions). I'm hoping he can take some courses at the university here, but even there you'll have the issues of lower-division courses taught by grad students.

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When I worked as the curriculum director for a charter district in AZ, I didn't even consider AP courses for my students. I chose to offer students dual-enrollment courses through Grand Canyon University. They are taught by their instructors so the credit cannot be rejected because it is from an accredited university.

 

 

The college being accredited doesn't guarantee that other colleges will grant credit for the course. Some colleges never award transfer credits. Most do an individual assessment of the courses and decide on a case by case basis. They may grant only a limited number of credits or determine that credits will be just general credits or they will meet specific requirements. In some states there are what are called "articulation agreements" and these spell out how colleges will treat credits from other institutions. Unless the school is governed by an articulation agreement you really have no idea how those credits will be granted.

 

There are a lot of variables and individual factors that vary from one institution to another... but particularly with selective colleges, AP credits may actually net more in the way of than community college credits.

 

Both dual enrollment credits and APs can be useful and can result in credit. Also, is not an all or nothing decision - many of our kids do a combination.

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I haven't read the article, but I do agree that dual-enrollment courses are better quality than AP courses. In general, AP course credits are not accepted because the quality of the course is rarely taught at the same level of rigor required for college credit. Most community colleges now offer dual-enrollment programs so that students who would qualify to take AP courses have the opportunity to take the same courses and actually get credit for them.

 

 

I strongly disagree. The quality of community college courses varies widely; some are significantly below AP level. Also, "rigor required for college credit" is something that varies greatly as well: a calculus course at our local CC is much easier than at the local STEM university.

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I do not find the criticisms to be particularly germane to home educated students. Taking the exams and performing well proves that the "mommy grades" are supported by statistically meaningful objective standards. We have a trove of merit aid that says the objective standards including AP exams not the course itself, matter a great deal. I taught the AP courses myself as the pass rates are abysmal at the local hs so in that particular fashion the author is correct, many students take the course because they think it looks good on their transcript but fail to understand that a crap grade on the exam makes the AP class meaningless. At the schools we applied to and many that I spoke with that are of the Seven Sisters dual enrollment at cc was suspect and likely no credit. AP exams accepted and credit awarded so long as there was a 4 out of 5. Even for Calc, Chem and so forth. Even our state Uni does not take cc credits. That is an unknown factor whereas most if not all colleges and Universities have a chart that shows what AP courses are accepted and the score needed to obtain credit at their particular institution. It is too darn hard for administrators to assess the course by course basis of what cc credits are acceptable and which are not. You have to make it easy to get to yes and ambiguity, uneven criteria and additional labor make that less likely. With an AP test they look at the course, your test score and voila yes it qualifies for credit or no it does not.

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The college being accredited doesn't guarantee that other colleges will grant credit for the course. Some colleges never award transfer credits. Most do an individual assessment of the courses and decide on a case by case basis. They may grant only a limited number of credits or determine that credits will be just general credits or they will meet specific requirements. In some states there are what are called "articulation agreements" and these spell out how colleges will treat credits from other institutions. Unless the school is governed by an articulation agreement you really have no idea how those credits will be granted. There are a lot of variables and individual factors that vary from one institution to another... but particularly with selective colleges, AP credits may actually net more in the way of than community college credits. Both dual enrollment credits and APs can be useful and can result in credit. Also, is not an all or nothing decision - many of our kids do a combination.

 

Thanks for the extra insight. I am aware that colleges have rules and limitations concerning what and how credits are applied. However there were never any issues with my students recieving college credit for dual enrollment courses. Granted, most were applying to state schools. That could have been the difference. I still prefer dual enrollment to AP though. It fit my student's needs/

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I strongly disagree. The quality of community college courses varies widely; some are significantly below AP level. Also, "rigor required for college credit" is something that varies greatly as well: a calculus course at our local CC is much easier than at the local STEM university.

 

Universities and colleges offer dual enrollment as well. I am aware there is a difference in the level of rigor, but that depends on the instructor. In that case, just like with any other class our children take, if the teacher is not up to par, we can request another.

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I do agree that dual-enrollment courses are better quality than AP courses. In general, AP course credits are not accepted because the quality of the course is rarely taught at the same level of rigor required for college credit.

 

I strongly disagree.

 

My kids have taken numerous AP's and numerous CC classes. The CC classes were MUCH much easier, required next to no work, and were all together lame. My kids have taken them to get real classroom experience, they have taken them to get an easy A that is credible, and they have taken them to take an outside class without putting in the work of an online AP class. (My kids received straight A's in all the CC classes with no work, and supposedly our local CC is well thought of by the flagship State U.)

 

In our case, the college my older two went to gave credit for 5's on various AP exams but would give NO credit for any CC class, period. Colleges differ widely on what they will give credit for; both AP and CC classes occasionally receive credit and sometimes don't.

 

I am so thankful for the rigor of the AP classes. I am SO thankful that AP's provide a standardized way of comparing top students. And I am very thankful forall the college credit my kids received through their AP scores (at a top 20 LAC).

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Have you considered dual enrollment with a university instead of a community college? There are universities that offer them. Please note that my original post referred to a university. .

 

Yes, because of the quality my DD is actually taking dual enrollment classes at the local four year STEM university.

 

I am sorry that it was not clear to me that you referred to universities; most parents of homeschooled students here use community college for dual enrollment (it is significantly cheaper, and in some states even free for high school students)

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I am aware there is a difference in the level of rigor, but that depends on the instructor. In that case, just like with any other class our children take, if the teacher is not up to par, we can request another.

 

 

I found the difference in rigor to be more a function of the institution than of the individual instructor. Basically all my transfer students who come from CC remark that their coursework at our university is much more difficult and that their grades are taking a hit.

 

As far as requesting an alternate teacher, that can be very difficult. Often, there is only one instructor teaching a particular course (our whole French department consists of a single professor who is teaching every single French course offered). At our university, introductory courses with multiple sections are full and the student has to take whatever section fits his schedule; it is virtually impossible to cherry pick the instructor (and sometimes the instructors for the individual sections are only announced at the beginning of the semester when it is too late to switch sections).

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Yes, because of the quality my DD is actually taking dual enrollment classes at the local four year STEM university.

 

I am sorry that it was not clear to me that you referred to universities; most parents of homeschooled students here use community college for dual enrollment (it is significantly cheaper, and in some states even free for high school students)

 

 

No worries. I reread my OP. I did mention community colleges at first, but I my experience and example was with a university. I should have been clearer.

 

Ok, now I see what the problem is- lol. Definately university dual-enrollment over cc. That may be why none of my students had an issue with credits. Thanks for the clarification.

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No worries. I reread my OP. I did mention community colleges at first, but I my experience and example was with a university. I should have been clearer.

 

Ok, now I see what the problem is- lol. Definately university dual-enrollment over cc. That may be why none of my students had an issue with credits. Thanks for the clarification.

 

 

I know this stuff can be confusing... but I don't think the difference is that it is a four year college versus a community college, I suspect it has more to do with the colleges your students are applying to. If they looked at out of state or more selective schools, it would likely be a different situation. It is true that Grand Canyon is regionally accredited, but it is also a for profit religious college that is going to have courses that are very different than what will be offered at more selective schools. Some selective schools will not give credit for any dual enrollment course that was used to meet a high school requirements. Others don't grant transfer credits at all. Some of these same schools WILL give credit for APs.

 

Unless governed by an articulation agreement, each college will make their own assessment of what credits will be awarded and if the credits will meet requirements. Sometimes students don't understand that elective credits probably won't do a lot for you - if it doesn't meet a general education or major requirement it probably isn't going to really help you very much.

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I haven't read the article, but I do agree that dual-enrollment courses are better quality than AP courses. In general, AP course credits are not accepted because the quality of the course is rarely taught at the same level of rigor required for college credit. Most community colleges now offer dual-enrollment programs so that students who would qualify to take AP courses have the opportunity to take the same courses and actually get credit for them.

 

We have suggested our dd take AP courses rather than dual enrollment because in our (limited) experience of 2 high schools in 2 different states, the AP classes are more difficult. At her current school, the dual enrollment classes are taught by the high school teachers; in fact, her math classes is dual enrollment for some of the students, but not for her because she didn't enroll in the cc's program. So she is receiving the same instruction, doing the same work as the dual enrolment students, but not getting credit for it. The high school math dept reworked the trig/precalculus class to fit what the cc wanted and dd hasn't learned anything new this first semester.

 

While the AP classes might not all be of the same caliber, the restults of the national AP test will tell schools whether the student learned the material. I believe the benefit of taking these classes is not necessarily for college credit, but instead to show what kind of student she is.

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That said, I suggest looking strategically at what AP courses can do for your homeschool and making an individual decision based on the needs of your kids. I disagree with the claim of the article that few colleges provide credit or that the credit is meaningless for most students. APs can help improve a homeschoolers profile for admissions and scholarships. Even many selective colleges grant credit for APs.Placing out of courses can allow a student more flexibility for more challenging courses earlier graduation, a double major, study abroad, etc. Particularly for kids who go to state universities careful planning with APs can be a big benefit. I'm not suggesting every student should take APs, but I think it would be foolish for homeschoolers to dismiss the option because there are problems on a policy level.

 

:iagree: AP is a great way to show college readiness, and, pending the college your student is applying to, realize that most of the competition will have AP credits (or IB).

 

I haven't read the article, but I do agree that dual-enrollment courses are better quality than AP courses. In general, AP course credits are not accepted because the quality of the course is rarely taught at the same level of rigor required for college credit. Most community colleges now offer dual-enrollment programs so that students who would qualify to take AP courses have the opportunity to take the same courses and actually get credit for them.

 

When I worked as the curriculum director for a charter district in AZ, I didn't even consider AP courses for my students. I chose to offer students dual-enrollment courses through Grand Canyon University. They are taught by their instructors so the credit cannot be rejected because it is from an accredited university.

 

Count me among those who disagree with you. We've found state schools and lower level private schools tend to accept DE courses (whether cc or 4 year), but many selective schools do not. The school middle son is attending gives AP credits, but not DE.

 

Having taught Calc 1 at a cc, I strongly disagree.

I think someone passing the AB Calc exam with a 4 or a 5 will likely know the material better than someone who has passed my class with a B or a C.

 

It's really going to vary based on the school. AP exams at least are consistent.

 

It also really varies according to the instructor. There's one at our cc who passes anyone with a pulse, gives take home exams, and cancels class more often than he's there. I'm just waiting for a lawsuit against him and the college. And his RMP evaluations are shining, so when I hear people suggest using RMP as a resource, I really cringe.

 

I can see having my son do some dual enrollment credit at our cc, but I will be viewing every course he takes there as just for high school credit and encouraging him to retake everything at his 4 year (with some possible exceptions). I'm hoping he can take some courses at the university here, but even there you'll have the issues of lower-division courses taught by grad students.

 

:iagree: We did some DE classes to have the experience, and I don't regret it. However, AP was certainly more rigorous and better college prep for the material. DE gave the classroom experience.

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I haven't read the article, but I do agree that dual-enrollment courses are better quality than AP courses. In general, AP course credits are not accepted because the quality of the course is rarely taught at the same level of rigor required for college credit. Most community colleges now offer dual-enrollment programs so that students who would qualify to take AP courses have the opportunity to take the same courses and actually get credit for them.

 

When I worked as the curriculum director for a charter district in AZ, I didn't even consider AP courses for my students. I chose to offer students dual-enrollment courses through Grand Canyon University. They are taught by their instructors so the credit cannot be rejected because it is from an accredited university.

 

I think that the utility of AP courses vs CC classes has to fall heavily in the "it depends" category.

 

What was the course? AP US History is more likely to get a student credits that are applicable toward a degree than AP Human Geography or Environmental Science (which may be accepted as a course that isn't needed for the degree). Similarly a College Algebra course from CC may or may not fulfill a graduation requirement.

 

What was the score? What was the grade? Some schools now only accept AP scores that are 4s or 5s. Or they grant varying levels of credit depending on the score. Some programs at some schools may require a B or higher from other schools.

 

What sort of institution is the course from? I looked at UVA, for example, and they require accredidation from regional accrediting agencies (or approval prior to taking the course). I think this might pose problems for credits from small religious schools, for example, which are accredited through different agencies. Accepting credits is always at the discretion of the receiving institution.

 

As far as the relative value of a course, I think that depends too. A classroom full of prepared and engaged students is typically going to be more rewarding than one that has some interested students and a lot who are just meeting minimums to check a block. Whether the best environment is found at a local CC or university or in an AP class will depend a lot on local particulars. In my part of town, education is a high priority and students tend to have parents who are checking up on their work. On the other hand, the offerings jump from standard classes to AP with no honors option. So many college bound students end up in AP courses before they are ready for that level of work, just in an effort to keep up with the transcript arms race. Some CC classes are taught well and have dedicated, hard working students who have interesting life experience or who are using CC as a stepping stone. Other classes have a lot of students who ended up there because they weren't ready for a four year school.

 

 

One other consideration is the value of an AP or CC course to a homeschooler as a marker for an ability to do higher level work in a traditional classroom setting. Students graduating from the high school down the street don't have to prove that they know how to come to classes, turn in homework, participate in a classroom discussion or follow assignment directions. These are assumptions made based on the nature of the school environment and the grade on the transcript. While I know that there are plenty of students hitting college who will prioritize sleep or parties over homework and class attendance, the admissions offices are going to assume that the students have the background to succeed if they choose to engage. This is still something of a question mark (IMHO) for homeschoolers. Some homeschoolers are great and exceed all hopes in college. Others really don't understand or respect that a class starts at a certain time, that due dates are due dates, or that if the assignment says to do X, Y & Z, then doing P, D & Q isn't going to meet the requirements of the assignment. (Reading past threads on coop classes shows that homeschoolers do come in a spectrum of ability and attention level.) The AP score or CC grade may help demonstrate the ability to thrive for the homeschool applicant.

 

There have been some great AP theads in the past (I think some are stickied at the top of the board). One of the points several posters have made is that AP and CC classes can be useful not only for their credit potential but also for admissions.

 

ETA: I wanted to add that reading the school guidelines goes a long way. In VA, for example, there are articulation agreements between community colleges and state schools that describe just what transfers and as what it would be accepted. I also found an interesting "Transfer of Credit Analyzer" for UVA that lets you put in the school and course and see if the credit was previously reviewed for transfer credit. (The link to the Analyzer is about half way down the page.) The list may change as students request transfer credit. If a particular course doesn't show up, it may just indicate few students transfering. But I thought it was intriguing to poke around there.

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I strongly disagree. The quality of community college courses varies widely; some are significantly below AP level. Also, "rigor required for college credit" is something that varies greatly as well: a calculus course at our local CC is much easier than at the local STEM university.

 

 

I completely agree with Regentrude on this. Some cc's are wonderful and several of you have had great experiences with them. Some are just middle of the road, and some are downright atrocious. I live near an atrocious one. It is entirely remedial...totally, 100% remedial. Oh, they have higher number courses, however the school policy is that lots of credit is given just for attendance, professors are not allowed to fail students because, "This is a business and the customer is always right. It's important to have many, satisfied customers," and no one wants to teach there due to these issues to most of the faculty are individuals who were fired from other college teaching positions for incompetence (the dean has even mentioned this more than once because it is "how we pick them up to teach cheaply"). Algebra 1 and Basic College Mathematics (using the Lial's Book) are the highest math classes offered. I use that particular Lial's book with my homeschooled 6th grade children before making a run at algebra 1 in 7th grade. They offer neither foreign language, nor history, nor any English classes beyond their college writing course which functions at a very low level.

 

In my experience, having witnessed what goes on at that institution and five others just like it in the lower peninsula as well as "Crappy State U" down the road, an institution that hands out degrees like schools hand out participation certificates to elementary students, is that "rigot for college credit" is NOT remotely regulated in my state and therefore, not all schools are remotely created equal. The students who enroll in Crappy State U and spent a year there would not survive as sophomores at other institutions such as MSU, U of M, or MTU, Kalamazoo College, Hope College, Northern Michigan, Grand Valley, Hillsdale, or Olivet Nazarene. One year of "CSU" would give them the impression that college is ridiculously easy and "who needs to study".

 

So, as scary as this is, an AP course would be WORLDS ahead of the cc six miles from my house. On the other hand, dd self-studied from several texts including Apologia plus my introduction to college chemistry text from the mid-80's, and got a 5 on the AP chem exam. She gained admittance to U of M and chose not to skip introductory chem. She figured, "If the AP really did cover everything and in the depth that my professor does, then great! Easy A for me. If not, I've got a good background going into it which will hopefully make it easier to get a good grade in an otherwise tough course." Well, she's glad she didn't skip (U of M is a top 50 school) and she did not struggle to get an A. However, the professor did cover some topics that weren't on the AP and other topics that were but in more depth and required more critical thinking about them.

 

I had Honors courses in high school that were very similar to the AP today. I wish our local schools still offered these. As of the autumn of 2013, of the eight school districts in my rural county, only one will offer any AP's and they will offer only two. None will have honors courses of any kind. All resources are being devoted to remedial education for the bottom 25% of students. This is because the state of Michigan, in it's ever increasing "wisdom" (please take that in the sarcastic tone in which my brain thinks it), decided that ALL students must earn credit through algebra 2 in order to graduate from high school. Nevermind that elementary math education in this state is absolutely, profoundly atrocious. A HUGE percentage of students still cannot work with even simple fractions or decimals, and cannot think logically in any possible way about math. Yet, there they are in algebra 1 where the school principals' put pressure - huge, "You will be fired if anyone fails algebra" - on the teachers who then pass them with D's even though their averages may be as low as 39% in the course. The geometry teacher gets them and can't do anything with them but faces losing his/her job if not everyone is given a passing grade because the state mandates that they all have to pass or the school loses funding. So, they are passed along and the algebra 2 teacher gets them and doesn't know what to do. My friend is an algebra 2 teacher. He also is not allowed to fail anyone. So, he teaches the algebra 2 book in it's entirety so that the college bound students who can do the math will learn the material. He gives D's to everyone at the bottom because he is required to and keeps a calendar in his desk in which he has marks off each day until he can retire - eight years.

 

Pretty soon there will be nothing left for middle and high performing students. I weep for what has happened to education in my state.

 

Those AP's, those courses with syllabi from the college board that had serious, basic requirements for covering the content and defined that content, the acceptable texts, and forced a schedule upon the school...those courses were literally lifelines for the kids who wanted to learn and were willing to put some effort into it. It.was.all.they.had.left. and as of 2013, they'll be completely gone except one school offering one hour of Calc AB, and Physics. I wonder how many students from neighboring districts that school will absorb. Michigan has a school of choice law which requires schools to accept transfers from other districts even if the family does not live within their district boundaries. There are exceptions such as they are not forced to take anyone who was on disciplinary action. But, those two courses might make the difference for a bunch of college bound kids and I do know of many parents who will go to whatever hassle and inconvenience they must in order to get their kids into those classes. The district did announce they'll hire math teachers for the basic courses and promote tenured staff from algebra 2 and trig, in order to accomodate more hours of Calc and Physics if they fill the first class and have more waiting.

 

I'm a firm believer that whether or not AP is comparable to the equivalent introductory course at uni A, B, or C is neither here nor there, these classes offer a better foundation for the student wanting and needing a greater challenge. It saddens me that so few students in my area will have access to such courses.

 

Faith

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I don't know where the older long threads about AP are, so I wanted to add two other possible benefits of AP.

 

Could give a student advanced standing. If a student had enough transfer credits (from AP/Dual Enrollment or even CLEP - if accepted, that's a whole different thread) they can be considered a semester or year ahead. Some schools (maybe most?) do course registration by class with seniors first. So being considered a semester or more ahead can let a student register for harder to get classes before the rest of their cohort. This could make the difference between getting into better sections, infrequent courses or hard to get classes.

 

There was also someone last year (I think it was Creekland?) whose son wanted a particular science class (astronomy?), but the course had a prerequisite of either the entry level science course most freshmen took or AP science. He had chosen not to take the AP test, because he was planning to decline the credit and take the course. But this also meant that he didn't have the pre-req for this other course.

 

I don't want to have AP course dictate every aspect of our high school time. For example, we spend a lot longer on some history topics than the AP syllabus and ignore other aspects altogether. But I do plan to have my kids take a couple of the exams.

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Apparently I smacked a hornet's nest with this one- lol.

 

I guess we can agree to disagree. Have a great day ladies.

 

Don't take it personally. This happens to be an oft discussed topic. And like a lot of discussions related to high school and college, there are so many variations to consider: the time and location, the student, the schools in question, and the goals of the student.

 

And the availability, cost and desirability of college classes for high schoolers differs widely from area to area. When we lived overseas on a military base, there were college extensions on base, but they seemed completely unwilling to even consider having a student who was not 18 and/or a high school graduate. If we were back in that setting, I'd have a totally different set of factors to consider than I do in Northern Virginia, with multiple campus options of a community college with strong agreements with state four year unis.

 

Alas, the tag function is still only available to the origional poster and even when I'm finding tagged older threads, it doesn't connect me to all that I know was there.

 

I did find some of the other recent threads about AP.

AP Courses for a Homeschooled Student.

Which AP Exams Earn Credits at Most Colleges?

Why is AP Preferred over CLEP?

Colleges Will not Accept 10th GradeAP for Credit? Ignore the part of the thread about the speaker at convention; that info was corrected. But there is an interesting discussion later in the thread about how many AP courses selective schools are looking for and some interesting links to College Board reports on test results broken down by category.

 

BTW, I don't think that the only successful route to homeschooling high school leads through a raft of AP exams, outside online courses or dual enrollment. It is a good option for some students in some places with some goals. But it isn't a good fit for all. Nor does every strong student need to pursue this. But if you are going to use the AP/dual enrollment route, it's worth doing the homework. There is a lot of conventional wisdom out there that isn't always based on the best current intel or applied in one situation but isn't a generality.

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Apparently I smacked a hornet's nest with this one- lol.

 

 

 

I'd say a hive... ;)

 

Welcome to the boards!

 

And I have seen AP classes that are useless. A friend had a really bad experience the last time he taught AB Calc where administration made him keep a student in his class who would never pass the AP exam & didn't have the prior knowledge. I believe he also had to pass her, even though she didn't know the material.

 

I think the exams do have value.

 

Our state - looks like all school districts now - won't assign students grades under 50, so they don't get discouraged. So if you turn in a blank sheet of paper, you get a 50 on the assignment. Makes me sick. Then they get to my classes at the cc and expect that showing up for class is enough to pass.

 

I hold the line and students will not pass my class if they aren't prepared for the next class. The majority of teachers at our cc do that as well. But there are a few...

 

I intend to have my son take as many APs as he is willing to take. I may have him do some CLEPs as well. I'll have him take some courses at our cc (I'm thinking mainly lab science or general ed) and try to have him take some at the university here. I figure testing (he tests well) will be good to verify my grades. If he can get some good experiences with other instructors and with being responsible for his own deadlines, that's great. There isn't one right way (and we'll see what my son wants at high school age as well).

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Don't take it personally. This happens to be an oft discussed topic. And like a lot of discussions related to high school and college, there are so many variations to consider: the time and location, the student, the schools in question, and the goals of the student.

 

And the availability, cost and desirability of college classes for high schoolers differs widely from area to area. When we lived overseas on a military base, there were college extensions on base, but they seemed completely unwilling to even consider having a student who was not 18 and/or a high school graduate. If we were back in that setting, I'd have a totally different set of factors to consider than I do in Northern Virginia, with multiple campus options of a community college with strong agreements with state four year unis.

 

I've been following these discussions now for probably 12 years now. During that time, the options for homeschoolers have dramatically expanded and it makes the decisions that much more complicated.

 

I agree that in general- for any high school student- the question of AP vs. dual enrollment vs. honors classes is very much a YMMV situation. The strength of the individual high school, the quality of the individual community college, the availability of a 4 year university that allows high school students to dual enroll, etc, etc, etc all are factors in the equation. It's impossible to make a blanket statement about the value of either type of course and how universities treat them that applies across the board and all around the country.

 

In our case, my older daughter had something like 16 credit hours of community college courses as a dual enrollment student. She took the English Literature and Comp AP exam after a combination of self-study and a tutorial class that focused on teaching students how to write essays for that particular AP exam. She got a 5 on the AP exam and did very, very well in typical college freshman courses (Calc, 2 semesters of Bio, Stats, Psych 101). She was awarded specific departmental credit for all courses at a nationally ranked, but not top-50, liberal arts college.

 

With respect to the original topic, she did not take a traditional AP class, but her score of 5 got her credit for the required freshman writing course.

 

My son is currently enrolled in a high school (after homeschooling K-10) where most of his credits are for CC courses taken on the CC campus. It remains to be seen where he'll go on for his 4 year degree and how much credit will transfer. I have been hearing that, typically, students are getting at least one full year, if not more, for their 2 years of CC credit. I do know about one student who went on from this program to UC Berkeley and was awarded significant credit for her CC studies. I do believe she took a lot of her course materials with her for a more individualized evaluation of her credits.

 

My own opinion of his courses so far is that some of them have been as challenging as I had hoped for (math), and some of them are not as strong as I had expected (college freshman level writing). I suspect he was intentionally placed with a writing instructor who was noted to be less rigorous to make sure he passed with a good grade (long backstory). After observing for 3 semesters of freshman level classes at this CC, I think they, mostly, are strong enough to be similar to an honors high school class, but wouldn't and shouldn't net credit at a tip-top nationally ranked university or LAC.

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I disagree with everything the author says.

 

"AP courses are not, in fact, remotely equivalent to the college-level courses they are said to approximate."

 

No. They aren't. Mine were better. By a LOT.

 

In order to qualify as an AP course, the syllabus MUST be approved, a certain percentage of students who take the class MUST take the test, and a certain percentage who take the test MUST pass it. He is very, very out of date with how AP is currently run.

 

I walked into college with 56 credit hours, and only in the grad-level English class I took MY FIRST SEMESTER AS A FRESHMAN did I struggle for as long as a week. Even in that class, I passed most of the other students by the end of the semester.

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I disagree with everything the author says.

 

"AP courses are not, in fact, remotely equivalent to the college-level courses they are said to approximate."

 

No. They aren't. Mine were better. By a LOT.

 

In order to qualify as an AP course, the syllabus MUST be approved, a certain percentage of students who take the class MUST take the test, and a certain percentage who take the test MUST pass it. He is very, very out of date with how AP is currently run.

 

I walked into college with 56 credit hours, and only in the grad-level English class I took MY FIRST SEMESTER AS A FRESHMAN did I struggle for as long as a week. Even in that class, I passed most of the other students by the end of the semester.

 

 

In order for an AP course to be called an AP course on the transcript, the syllabus must be approved. Not one student has to take the test. Not one student has to pass the test. It is based solely on the syllabus.

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In order for an AP course to be called an AP course on the transcript, the syllabus must be approved. Not one student has to take the test. Not one student has to pass the test. It is based solely on the syllabus.

 

:iagree: We had several years of offering AP courses with few taking the test and times where no one would pass it. It had no bearing on the name of the course.

 

Colleges only give credit for test scores though, and some don't offer credit as their courses tend to not be as "low." Ditto that last part with cc credit.

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I should mention that our school mostly ditched AP (except Euro) a few years back since almost no one was passing the tests. They now go with DE where the teacher gets to decide if the student gets credit. I think several schools (locally) followed suit. Recently I've also noticed less colleges accepting DE credits and suspect a good part of it is the trend of students getting credit when they really don't deserve it due to lower expectations in DE classes. An AP score levels out the comparisons. Some DE may be decent, but the colleges seldom know who got what for their foundation.

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In order for an AP course to be called an AP course on the transcript, the syllabus must be approved. Not one student has to take the test. Not one student has to pass the test. It is based solely on the syllabus.

 

 

This seems to be very school and maybe area-dependent? I've never heard of such a thing around here, although I've heard it often here on the boards. At my dds' school, in order to take the AP class, you must also take the test, and most kids do well on the test. They are selective about who can take the class, and there are prerequisites both in topic and in grades earned in those prerequisites.

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This seems to be very school and maybe area-dependent? I've never heard of such a thing around here, although I've heard it often here on the boards. At my dds' school, in order to take the AP class, you must also take the test, and most kids do well on the test. They are selective about who can take the class, and there are prerequisites both in topic and in grades earned in those prerequisites.

 

 

That is definitely a school decision and not a college board decision. ;) IMO it's a good school decision.

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I should mention that our school mostly ditched AP (except Euro) a few years back since almost no one was passing the tests. They now go with DE where the teacher gets to decide if the student gets credit. I think several schools (locally) followed suit. Recently I've also noticed less colleges accepting DE credits and suspect a good part of it is the trend of students getting credit when they really don't deserve it due to lower expectations in DE classes. An AP score levels out the comparisons. Some DE may be decent, but the colleges seldom know who got what for their foundation.

 

It may be important to note that Dual Enrollment can mean two different things:

 

1) Student takes a class at the local high school taught by either a high school teacher or a CC instructor who has been contracted to come to the HS to teach the class. In either case, the class is taught on a high school schedule, during the regular high school day, and the only students in the class are from the high school.

 

2) Student takes a class taught on the CC campus. The class has the usual mix of CC students who range in age from perhaps 15yo through middle age and beyond. In this case, the class is taught on the CC schedule, and no adjustments in teaching approach are made to accommodate adolescent learners.

 

I suspect that the second approach will more frequently, but not always, result in a stronger academic experience. Again, I think because the quality of community colleges varies widely across the country, it's hard to make a blanket statement about CC classes in general.

 

I appreciate the recognition that the AP test score allows colleges to compare one student to the next. In the past, I have known of homeschoolers who have taken a CC course and followed up by taking a corresponding AP test. This requires self-study test prep for the test since the CC course doesn't teach to the test, but can be one option for homeschoolers to "show what they know."

 

In the end, depending on the ultimate goal for college admission, I think most homeschoolers should look at either AP or dual enrollment as a way to show they can handle advanced coursework rather than countining on getting credit from their chosen college for the course. This should be the mindset of all homeschoolers who aspire to Ivy League level schools.

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While, like many of you, I see policy problems with the AP Program, I am finding that striving to provide a rigorous, interesting, discussion-provoking US History class this year has been enhanced by the fact that 2 of the 11 students want to take the AP Exam in May. It has spurred me to find even better means to share original documents, to challenge the students to get comfortable writing essays based on the typical AP Exam questions and the discussions and debates are great!

 

 

Just my 2 cents :tongue_smilie:

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This seems to be very school and maybe area-dependent? I've never heard of such a thing around here, although I've heard it often here on the boards. At my dds' school, in order to take the AP class, you must also take the test, and most kids do well on the test. They are selective about who can take the class, and there are prerequisites both in topic and in grades earned in those prerequisites.

 

 

While the schools have their own rules, College Board does not have those rules. College Board owns the label AP. Actually, College Board is against gatekeeping like you are talking about. Schools around here claim that students have to take AP exams if they take the course. It is not enforceable at public schools due to the $85 fee. If the school is willing to pay the fees, then they can have that rule. (My school does pay the fees for the students to take the tests, so we can enforce that rule. However, most schools do not do that, so they cannot enforce it.)

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While I think that certain AP Classes at certain schools may indeed be a scam, that is, those classes where few students take or pass the AP exam, I wouldn't throw out the baby with the bathwater, I say, the AP Exam is not a scam, and perhaps it is too easy to get a syllabus approved. The College Board publishes distributions of exam scores (e.g. 30 % of students got a 5 on APUSH...), but it would be interesting to see those broken down by school or classroom. Perhaps if a given AP class routinely has the majority of students fail, or not even try the test, it should lose the AP designation.

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Also, I find it interesting to compare the first and last bullet points in the author's article:

 

AP courses are not, in fact, remotely equivalent to the college-level courses they are said to approximate.
The courses cover too much material and do so too quickly and superficially.

 

Keep in mind the author's experience only covers US Government, and that, in my experiences, the different disciplines have very different exams. I wouldn't expect that his experience with history is at all relevant to Calculus or, say, Latin. Importantly, for classes like these, the college syllabus is very well defined, and I don't think differs much from university to university, and there isn't much choice as to how superficially or in depth you study them -- either you memorize the 3rd declension noun endings or you don't, there's not much ability to do it "superficially" or "in depth".

 

So, if his real argument is that "the US Government exam is too much of a survey", well, maybe that's a legitimate complaint. But that brush isn't nearly wide enough to cover the whole AP program.

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I'm wondering about the blurb about the article which seems to start out misrepresenting the CB

 

"The College Board earns over half of all its revenues from the courses -- and, in an uncertain environment, students keep being suckered."

 

I thought they earned their revenue from the exams? To my knowledge they don't offer courses.

 

Also, I know there is a rivalry between the IB and AP proponents....and think that the IB proponents miss some of the advantages of the AP approach.

 

While the AP courses ds took are not like his university level courses (but we're also in a completely different country) - I'm completely grateful for them as a way for an American to enter a European school. Without them, there is no standardized exam that universities in other countries can examine to compare qualifications of American students.

 

So maybe there should be an adjustment to some of the claims, but I for one would not want to do away with them completely.

 

Joan

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'regentrude:

I read the article and want to comment on a few of his arguments:

 

 

I concur. In many cases, they are not on par with the introductory college course they are supposed to replace.

 

I'm sure that is true, but my daughter, who is taking both AP (at a very difficult school) and college classes, says the college classes are easier!

 

 

I do not see this as a negative: freeing the capable student to take more higher level courses earlier is a good thing. And the student is also not forced to take the AP exam and opt out of the intro course; he can simply choose to take the class and gain the knowledge and begin the intro sequence at college .Choice is always good.

 

 

 

 

That may well be the case;however, I still consider the option of having a more challenging class a good thing. If unprepared students take the course and fail the exam, that is their problem, not the problem of the AP course.

Since the syllabus has to be standardized, I do not see how these students would water down the course for the others. Of course, it would be beneficial if schools used strict standards in the decision which students to admit to advanced classes.

 

Regardless of standardized material though, some teachers are simply better than others and their kids do better.

 

 

The education system in this country is strongly geared towards the mediocre and low performing students. Much more resources go towards the low end than are spent for gifted students. The AP system is a tiny step to offer capable students an education on their level and give them an education that is a little bit comparable to what college bound students are offered in other developed countries.

 

This is so, so true. Dumbed down doesn't even begin to explain it.

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Keep in mind the author's experience only covers US Government, and that, in my experiences, the different disciplines have very different exams. I wouldn't expect that his experience with history is at all relevant to Calculus or, say, Latin. Importantly, for classes like these, the college syllabus is very well defined, and I don't think differs much from university to university, and there isn't much choice as to how superficially or in depth you study them -- either you memorize the 3rd declension noun endings or you don't, there's not much ability to do it "superficially" or "in depth".

 

So, if his real argument is that "the US Government exam is too much of a survey", well, maybe that's a legitimate complaint. But that brush isn't nearly wide enough to cover the whole AP program.

 

Thank you for saying this! History and Literature exams can be very subjective. If one wants to take the subjectivity out of the exam, then one has to boil it down to the nuts and bolts - memorize data and regurgitate. They can end up being very "survey" like.

 

I'd encourage the author to try the physics exam. DD took it and it was rigorous and she HAD to know her material and be able to think critically about it in order to achieve a good score. She earned a 5 and it was through hardwork, period. Physics tends to be a strong suit for both ds and I so we sat down one day for fun and took an online practice exam. We were both sweating some answers, I can tell you that, and this is after teaching a lot of science/physics/engineering principles to our rocket team, our 4-H STEM club, homeschooling dd through high school and TEACHING her the physics, four college physics classes for dh way back when, and two for me (material we've generally retained because we love the subject, though clearly we were hazy on some things and had to reach into the fogs of our long term memory), etc. It is not as though we lacked a background that should make it fairly easy for us to whiz through a freshman, first semester college physics exam. Yet, neither one of us thought 20 questions into this thing, that a 5 was assured. Maybe, just maybe a 4 and at one point I grappled with a couple of questions so much that I thought, "I'm only going to get a 3!" We did better than we thought and we both got 5's, but that was a practice exam...an exam from previous years...maybe on the current exam we would not have done so well. Who knows? All I can say is that when it comes to hard science and mathematics or even music theory (that is another exam that is not for the feint of heart and it most certainly does test over the material we covered in first semester freshman theory as music majors) the tough stuff is asked.

 

Now, whether or not each individual teacher follows the syllabus, covers the entire text, and teaches to the necessary depth is of course, no guarantee at all! We all know that from one teacher to another there will be many variations in strengths, weaknesses, and abilities plus some classrooms will be full of truly motivated kids who listen, some will have a class clown or two that likes to keep things riled up, and some will have kids that got funneled into the class because their schools, like our local ones, have nothing else for them and these kids ARE NOT INTERESTED in the material or attending college. In those instances, it's not going to be easy to cover the material thoroughly much less get the kids to study for the exam. Many school districts will have only 10-20% of the class choose to sit the test. That speaks volumes about the motivation for the rest of the students. It shouldn't be about money because the cost of the exam is supposed to be part of the curriculum budget of the school. While parents may pay for their kids to sit the ACT, SAT, and SAT subject tests, if the school offers an AP course, the exam is included as part of it. So, if an AP class has 20 students and only 4 take the test, it isn't about money. Therefore, I do believe there can be a lot of variation in what actually goes on from one AP classroom to another based on the humans involved and the college board has no control over that. But, IF the syllabus is covered and IF the class is listening, and IF the teacher does a thorough job and IF he/she is provided the resources to do a good job, IF the cosmic fates align :D , so to speak, then the course is valuable to the right student and with a respectable score on the exam, a good tool for evaluation of mastery. However, it isn't the right fit for every kid and shouldn't be prescribed as such.

 

I wish there was an in-between. Some kids need more challenge, but either they have test taking nerves, or AP is just a little too fast for them, or whatever. This is where an honors course or "college prep" course would be great. Our schools have eliminated them. There are a few "average" courses and there is remedial. That's it. 75% of the school population is funneled through "remedial" now. The school could care less. All they want to do, since funding is tied to performance, is bring up the bottom and they assume the most capable students will always be at the top. Bad assumption!

 

I once asked our local school superintendent after he announced the elimination of all honors and AP courses plus most of the foreign language, symphonic band, jazz band, and concert choir (the audition only choir in which real music theory was taught and the kids with serious talent could look forward to challenging music) what he thought would happen to the school ACT average. He thought nothing would change.

 

I said, "Imagine you are a student who has drive and ambition. Everything that was important to you, your music performance groups where you were being challenged and pushed and you THRIVED, are elimintated, your favorite school subjects that you thought you'd pursue to a high level are eliminated, anything that would have met you where you are currently at are eliminated. The classes that are left are functioning much lower...you don't even need to attend to understand the material and do the homework. What incentive is there for you to continue to jump hoops for your school? If your ACT score as a sophomore stands at 24 which is very respectable at age 15, how will you get that up to a competitive score if you never learn anything new from now until graduation? Why would you bother? Why would you bother to waste your time to do homework for no earthly reason? Why show up at all? You've gone as far as you can go. The only thing making you show up is the law. What will that do to the student? Oh, a few will be people pleasers that so crave approval from their teachers that they'll continue to run this completely stupid, going nowhere, rat-race you've carved out for them. You will shovel them educational manure and they'll grab the fork and say 'yum, yum'. However, that's only a few. The rest will become disillusioned, the rest will want to quit school, the rest will see no value in this race to nowhere, and they'll stop trying. They'll occupy space, stare into the distance, disrupt class or sit sullenly hating school with a passion. Their scores will drop. Your percentage of top performers will go down each and every year."

 

"By the way, did you take any math in high school or college? Because you do know how averages work, right? How many remedial students will bring up their scores significantly? How many...not many! Kids with LD's are rarely going to be good standardized test takers - many are brilliant, but it doesn't change the fact that the way their brains are wired, hampers them from doing well in this type of evaluation, this very fact makes the entire process unfair for them because they should be evaluated by interview or oral exams and portfolio, NOT bubble tests. Kids who are lazy aren't going to become unlazy because you sent them to more remedial classes. Parents that don't give a care aren't going to suddenly start caring and make their kids try harder. A few, a few...will benefit, but not enough to significantly raise your school performance ranking. If the top performers' scores drop more than the bottom comes up, a likely scenario, what happens to you then? The laws of mathematics indicates that your average goes down. For all of the money and resources you've diverted from 75% of your student body to assist 25%, your net result is a loss. There has to be a better way."

 

I then cut him to the bone by reminding him that since he'd cut AP's, the good music performance groups, the upper levels in foreign language, and the extra-curriculars for the academically minded, that he was likely to lose a huge portion of his top performers and their per-head funding to the district a few miles over who was maintaining a few AP's, a third option for two foreign languages, their concert choir, and the debate team. Michigan has school of choice and parents can opt to enroll their kids in any school outside their district so long as they provide the necessary transportation. If I said the man was not happy with me, I would be making a very strong understatement.

 

This is exactly what happened. The high school went from an A ranking 4 years ago to a D ranking in 2011/2012. Top performing (a dubious extinction if you ask me) to a low performing, probationary, the state is watching you, sad reputation school who was further embarassed to see the rank of the school that absorbed many of their good students rise nicely.

 

Anyway, a bit off topic for sure, and yet for American schools in which the AP's are just about the only tool in their arsenal for assisting motivated students, it does seem germane to the discussion.

 

Faith

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On a policy level there are certainly problems and limitations with the AP system right now. There are a too many students who take AP classes but are unable to pass the tests. In our local schools it seems like the decision ends up being APs or classes with unmotivated students. Too many APs can be stressful particularly during junior year. That said, I suggest looking strategically at what AP courses can do for your homeschool and making an individual decision based on the needs of your kids. I disagree with the claim of the article that few colleges provide credit or that the credit is meaningless for most students. APs can help improve a homeschoolers profile for admissions and scholarships. Even many selective colleges grant credit for APs. Placing out of courses can allow a student more flexibility for more challenging courses earlier graduation, a double major, study abroad, etc. Particularly for kids who go to state universities careful planning with APs can be a big benefit. I'm not suggesting every student should take APs, but I think it would be foolish for homeschoolers to dismiss the option because there are problems on a policy level.

 

These are good observations. Virtually every college dd applied to gives extra weight to AP classes. However, some weigh them the same as honours courses.

 

Having taught Calc 1 at a cc, I strongly disagree. I think someone passing the AB Calc exam with a 4 or a 5 will likely know the material better than someone who has passed my class with a B or a C. It's really going to vary based on the school. AP exams at least are consistent.

 

For math, they are, and so far our only AP experience is with Calculus. I have to agree with another poster that some subject exams are going to be subjectively graded. Even the rubric for the SAT essay question has room for subjectivity. However, my dd is finally having to work to get an A, and that includes when she homeschooled with strong material, and for that alone this class is well worth it. Had she gone to univ/college without this experience it could have been a rude awakening in a good honours college.

 

 

Apparently I smacked a hornet's nest with this one- lol. I guess we can agree to disagree. Have a great day ladies.

 

Welcome!! This is a lively discussion with varied opinions and has actually been quite polite. All of us have to agree to disagree at times here :).

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Alas, the tag function is still only available to the origional poster and even when I'm finding tagged older threads, it doesn't connect me to all that I know was there.

 

 

Sebastian -- more links to many longer threads on AP vs Dual Enrollment in the newly-fixed, stickied thread Outsourcing, Online Classes, Tutors, Dual Enrollment, Etc.!

 

 

And, just a thought, but on this topic I'm not sure it's so much a matter of having to agree to disagree -- but rather the widely varying combination of factors of where each of us lives, what options are available to us, what your abilities are, and what each individual student's abilities and future goals are.

 

Trying to make the best decision for YOUR student between AP and/or Dual Enrollment involves working through a LOT of factors:

 

 

- Policies of the post-secondary institution the student plans to attend.

(Some accept most coursework from dual enrollment credits, with only remedial classes not accepted, while others have a much more limited list of classes they accept. Some accept NO community college credits, but will accept some from other universities or 4-year colleges. Some institutions accept no credits from any other institution, period.)

 

- Quality of the Community College/University Dual Enrollment classes/instructors available to you.

(Some students live near high quality institutions with great instructors that are well-accepted as credits elsewhere. Others live near very poor-quality institutions which will not transfer well, or be as valuable or rigorous as AP.)

 

- Status the student needs/wants to have upon entering college.

(Some universities accept unlimited credits and still call the student a freshman. But many more limit the total # of dual enrollment classes before the student is no longer considered a freshman but instead a transfer student, to a maximum of 24, or even just 12 credits. NOTE: Freshman have many more scholarships available to them than transfer students.)

 

- Location, location, location.

(AP testing through public schools is dependent on if there is a school near you even offering AP. And then, their schedule has to line up when your student is trying to take the test. And don't forget, they tend to fill their classes with their own students first, before including homeschoolers. Similarly, dual enrollment, if not online, is limited to your available transportation range. What's near enough to attend, may not be *worth* attending.)

 

- What field the student plans to enter.

(Some require APs, or APs help as a pre-requisite. Some nod at the APs but give no college credit for the APs. Some institutions accept NO credits from community colleges, but DO accept some from certain universities. Some institutions accept no credits from any other institution, period.)

 

- Student's career plans.

(Some fields mean APs are highly desireable for entering a competitive program, or applying to a highly desireable university. For other degree programs or institutions, APs really don't add to a student's chances and aren't worth the money.)

 

- Family finances.

(This may dictate which of the options that are available to a family. Dual enrollment may be extremely helpful, allowing a student to knock off a semester or two of college before graduating high school, making it *just* possible to then go for 3 years at a university to finish a degree. For others, getting a certificate or AA at a Community College that is may be much cheaper than the nearby university may allow the student to then get a much higher-paying job and work for 2-3 years to earn the university tuition. Or, some students want the certificate or AA degree as a "fall-back" in case after getting a 4-year degree they can't find any job.)

 

- Student's abilities.

(A student may be a "late bloomer", or average, or has no interest in working hard in high school. Doing rigorous academics and APs may not be in that student's best interests. Rather, either dual enrollment, or, graduating and then going to the community college for either a certificate or AA degree may be a better match for students with no defined career goals.)

 

 

And probably lots of other factors I'm not thinking of at the moment. ;) BEST of luck to all as you work through all the variables and find the path that best matches your family situation and each student's goals! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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