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When Did High School Become Jr. College?

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While the parents in my neck of the woods discuss how many AP classes their kids are taking and their kids' gpas, no one discusses how the kids perform on the AP exams, most likely because the AP exam scores are terrible.  My local high school was just named one of the most rigorous schools in America, and this designation was based on the number of AP classes offered, not how the students score on the exams.  This is the same school where my homeschooled kiddo was the only person in the exam room actually taking the AP exam - most of the kids brought a pillow and blanket and slept, while three other students brought crayons and colored in the test booklet.  The kids told my son that no one had ever passed the exam, and the highest score ever was a 2, so they weren't even going to bother trying.

 

Just another reason why "AP" does not always equate to college level.  Even if the AP content is college level, there is no guarantee that the class is actually being taught at a college level.

 

If you are curious how the students in your school perform on the AP exams, request a copy of the school's College Board Summary Report.  That was a real eye-opener for me.

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You knew that I had to jump in here.

 

I've been a community college professor for coming up on nineteen years, working for community colleges with honors programs and guaranteed admissions agreements with dozens of schools you'd recognize including several "public Ivies."

 

For kids who are ready for college-level work, dual enrollment is a great thing. I did it with one of mine, and not the other. I was adjusting to their needs. There's no reason to hold them back.

 

My son just graduated from the honors program at the local community college, and he worked very, very hard. He has friends at a range of colleges, and there is nothing to make us believe that he had an inferior education at all. He loved the small classes and being local.

 

I understand that some 2-year colleges do indeed provide inferior education, but that hasn't been our experience at all. 

 

I taught for 14 years in a CC in our next-door state, and in that state, all of the "transferable" credits must be on par with the state uni courses. As a result, the state's CC system has a great 2+2 program that transfers as a block of courses and puts a student directly into junior year at several colleges and universities for specific majors. The classes are generally of good quality and have smaller class sizes than their lecture-hall counterparts at the big schools.

 

The CC system is also the only place you can take remedial credits at a public college in the state. The big universities really fought this because apparently the lower-level courses are money-makers, relatively speaking.

 

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I think a lot of this pushing college down to the high school level is a reaction to the dumbing down of high school courses. That dumbing down has extended to colleges, as well, so what is now considered college level is often really just the high school level of 30 years ago. I know this is not universally true, but I think it is common enough that this is what we're seeing.

I am showing my age, but back in my day, high school was, well, high school. You took a series of classes for 4 years, graduated, and THEN you went to college. Dual enrollment was rare, and AP classes were for the gifted and talented, not the general population. I recall the privilege reserved primarily seniors in the top 20% of the class. You had to apply with the grades to back it up. Yet, on this board and at the public high school my son will be a freshman next year, the expectation is to start college coursework earlier and earlier. For example, my son can take AP Human Geography as a Freshman with no admission requirements other than a willingness to work hard. He hasn't even started high school yet and they are willing to sign up for college level work on his say so? To what advantage? I don't get it. If you graduate high school with an associates degree or pretty close to it, what is the point of high school? Is high school too long these days? Should it only be two years? And for some students, college is NOT the goal. What about them? I guess many dual enroll to save tuition in college, but I think it puts undue stress on some kids. College level work should be saved for, well, college!

 

I remember the saying that "college is the new high school". I thought then it meant that to succeed in today's world a college degree is necessary. I think it has now morphed into college replacing high school with this jumping from middle school to college level work. What is the place of high school in today's educational strata?

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If you are curious how the students in your school perform on the AP exams, request a copy of the school's College Board Summary Report.  That was a real eye-opener for me.

 

You can also google the high school's School Profile for at least some info.  Note that some high schools require the student to take the AP exam at the end, whereas the exam may be optional at others.

Our neighborhood high school has about 2000 students/500 seniors and an average ACT of 24.6.  Last year's School Profile includes the following:

 

Of the 1,488 exams taken last year, 77.9% scored a 3 or higher.  113 AP Scholars, 57 AP Scholars with Honors, 104 AP Scholars with Distinction, 23 AP National Scholars

With almost a quarter of the senior class being AP scholars, the top students are obviously taking a lot of APs, and presumably, the rest of the students not so much.  So in that school, I don't think anything remotely resembling a majority of students have taken APs.

 

On the other hand, the school profiles of the local urban high schools, AP stats are not listed (though some AP courses are offered) and average ACTs are in the teens.

 

There's a lot of data out there but it's surprisingly difficult to immediately google the points I'm looking for, that really, most public school kids are not taking APs.  I guess this will do, from the College Board:

 

Since 2006, the percentage of U.S. students taking AP classes and then earning a score of 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam has grown by 7.6 points from 14.3% to 21.9% of public high school graduates.

 

 

An earlier article states that about a third of public high school graduates had taken an AP exam in 2013, with 20 percent getting a score of 3 or higher.

 

Edited by wapiti
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An earlier article states that about a third of public high school graduates had taken an AP exam in 2013, with 20 percent getting a score of 3 or higher.

 

 

I had never seen this stat before.  So only 20% of the students have passed even one AP exam?  So either 80% of the high school students are not actually ready to take a college level class, or the instructor is not actually teaching the class at a college level. 

 

It would be interesting to see how the students' grades in their AP classes compare to their AP scores.  I know at my public school, some kids are getting A's in the class while getting 1's on the AP exam. 

 

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I had never seen this stat before.  So only 20% of the students have passed even one AP exam?  So either 80% of the high school students are not actually ready to take a college level class, or the instructor is not actually teaching the class at a college level. 

 

It would be interesting to see how the students' grades in their AP classes compare to their AP scores.  I know at my public school, some kids are getting A's in the class while getting 1's on the AP exam. 

 

 

Your last part happened here too.  Our school's solution was to switch to DE classes.  That way the kids get credit (for essentially the same course) without needing to pass the AP exam.

 

Since our school doesn't offer AP any longer, but does offer DE and each year students get credit for those instead, I'm a little leery of using AP stats across the board for "all high school students," esp considering we're an average public high school (statistically) so I don't think we're outside the norm.  Our average ACT score is 23, but very few take the ACT.  More take the SAT.  Average SAT is 1453, I presume by old score (2400) standards.

 

I wish places (all places) would break down stats by "college bound" students vs not.  We have a good number in our school that are lower level (not college bound even for cc, some classes are taught at an 8th grade level).  I'd want to see the stats for Level 2 (cc or lower level college bound - basic state schools, etc) and Level 3 (state flagship or higher level college bound) - or at least - that's how it's supposed to be based "content-wise." All DE courses are Level 3.  No DE course is at a lower level, though there are some Level 3 courses that aren't DE.  Public schools serve the whole public and not all of those are college bound.  Homeschoolers include the whole gamut too.  Do all (or most) "college bound" students take AP/DE?

Edited by creekland
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Is it 32% of a single class year or 32% of students attending?  If it's a single class year, then yes, most kids aren't taking AP (though one third are), but if it's of students attending then roughly 50% of students are juniors/seniors (the most common years to take AP) so I'm not sure I see your "overwhelming majority."

 

At the public school where I work, DE/AP is limited to juniors and seniors.  I know that's not true at all schools, but if one looks at scores - most students taking the tests are juniors and seniors too.

 

It's 32% of the total school population that is enrolled in at least 1 AP class. But AP is not limited to upperclassmen here. It's common for top AP-track kids to take AP World or HG in 9th and then add in more AP classes each year.

 

If 32% of the school is enrolled in at least 1 AP class, then that means that 68% of students are not taking any college-level classes at all. Of the 32% of students who are enrolled in AP, many of them are taking just that 1 AP class, so the other 7 class periods of the day are high school level classes. It is a pretty small percentage of kids who are loading up on AP classes, and even those kids are still taking several high-school courses each year.  

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They just use different names for not quite the same thing. High school classes are not hard. They tell the kids they are hard, but they aren't. My DS was all excited to get in an advanced, "challenging" program, but has been seriously disappointed. You know what's hard? Lukeion and AOPS which he was doing in middle school. HS has nothing like that and he was expecting a full load of that level.

 

"Advanced" classes are yesterday's normal classes. I guess. When I was in HS, we were writing 5-15 pg papers regularly. DS writes paragraphs and 1-2 pages MAX. When I was in HS, you didn't take an AP class unless you intended to get a 5 on the test, and nothing less was accepted. Today, kids take it hoping for 3s. Colleges don't even let you opt out of the classes half the time if you do get a 5. I think AP classes on an application must look like, "won't have to take remedial classes."

 

Because the average class is not hard, kids who actually want a challenge often do dual enrollment at the CC. But the CC classes are not hard. They are HS level classes which haven't been watered down. I haven't been an undergrad in years, but the last time I graded undergrad papers (as a grad student) I saw atrocious writing in students who had actually graduated high school and been accepted in a college that was considered good. I was not allowed to grade those papers as they deserved. I can only imagine that things have not improved over 13 years. 

 

It's grade inflation, word manipulation, and no real advance in difficulty from what I see. I'm sure there are actually challenging schools somewhere, but we're supposedly in a very good nationally ranked school. 

 

It makes no sense- kids are expected to do everything in K and lower elementary, but somehow they aren't showing any real advancement compared to earlier years in HS. FWIW, the class choices are very different than when my parents were kids, and somewhat different than when I was a kid. DS takes more classes a year, has more elective options, and gets to do more interesting things in his HS. Perhaps the cost of more variety is less focus on the traditional subjects. 

Edited by Paige
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It's 32% of the total school population that is enrolled in at least 1 AP class. But AP is not limited to upperclassmen here. It's common for top AP-track kids to take AP World or HG in 9th and then add in more AP classes each year.

 

If 32% of the school is enrolled in at least 1 AP class, then that means that 68% of students are not taking any college-level classes at all. Of the 32% of students who are enrolled in AP, many of them are taking just that 1 AP class, so the other 7 class periods of the day are high school level classes. It is a pretty small percentage of kids who are loading up on AP classes, and even those kids are still taking several high-school courses each year.  

 

I still bet if you compare the percentage within each grade (freshmen, sophomores, etc) you will see higher levels those last two years and lower levels the first two.  I wonder if you can find a stat for percentage at graduation who have taken at least one?  Then what about the stat for college bound students?

 

And yes, many classes are not AP.  There's always gym, music, art, non AP languages, shop, home ec, non-AP science and math classes (like Astronomy, Ag courses, or Business math), computer programming or other tech classes, etc.  APs don't cover everything.  There won't be a single student with all AP courses I suspect.

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My thoughts- our system was/is far too stretched out. I feel like at least one or two years of middle school is useless, and a few years of high school are, as well, (for bright students)

 

I went to a good private high school and I think most of freshman and sophomore year we barely improved on anything except writing skills and math. The rest was really content that could have been learned much earlier or streamlined.

 

I remember getting straight As while hardly studying and just doing the homework. I did work consistently but I certainly did not work hard. And I was far more focused on my social life, extra curriculars and sports. My brain space revolved around my social life, the school play, varsity swimming. Homework was squeezed in after and around these things. Studying ? I only did that in homeroom.

 

I honestly think that the way we streeetch our American kids childhood and school years is a big problem on many levels.

 

I feel like moving my kids onto the next phase as soon as they seem ready is exactly the right thing to do.

Edited by Calming Tea
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I had never seen this stat before.  So only 20% of the students have passed even one AP exam?  So either 80% of the high school students are not actually ready to take a college level class, or the instructor is not actually teaching the class at a college level. 

 

It would be interesting to see how the students' grades in their AP classes compare to their AP scores.  I know at my public school, some kids are getting A's in the class while getting 1's on the AP exam. 

 

I think it makes some sense that most high school students aren't ready to take college classes *during* high school.  That is probably as it should be, notwithstanding quality concerns about those "college" and "high school" classes.

 

I have doubts about there being data available on grades vs AP scores.

 

I'd want to see the stats for Level 2 (cc or lower level college bound - basic state schools, etc) and Level 3 (state flagship or higher level college bound) - or at least - that's how it's supposed to be based "content-wise." All DE courses are Level 3.  No DE course is at a lower level, though there are some Level 3 courses that aren't DE.  Public schools serve the whole public and not all of those are college bound.  Homeschoolers include the whole gamut too.  Do all (or most) "college bound" students take AP/DE?

 

How many of AP are college bound would be a good number to compare.  At our neighborhood public high school that I cited above, apparently 94% attend "college" in some form.

 

At my boys' private high school, the stats aren't very far off from our neighborhood high school, just a bit higher as one might expect from a high school that doesn't admit everyone.  99% enroll in 4-yr universities, 64% OOS, 36% in-state, 53% public and 47% private.  The colleges run the gamut from non-selective to super-selective.  Average ACT 26.8.  Out of 900 students, 317 students took 609 AP tests. 86% of those taking an AP test scored 3, 4 or 5 on the exam.

 

In this example, even though some of those tests presumably were taken by underclassmen, I would assume the seniors also took exams as underclassmen, so I think it's fair to guess that, say, among the 200 seniors, students took 609 tests over their four years.  A group at the top will have taken 6-8 tests and many will have taken 4-5, so even in this entirely college-bound population, a good number will have taken zero APs.  Extremely few will have taken, say, 10.  The school allows anyone to take an AP as long as the prerequisite courses have been taken, but they're very strict about math and science placement for freshmen, which affects both the math and science tracks.  The only AP commonly taken before jr yr is AP World in 10th but I don't know the percentage, maybe half.

 

 I wonder if you can find a stat for percentage at graduation who have taken at least one?

 

Does this stat work?  https://www.collegeboard.org/releases/2014/class-2013-advanced-placement-results-announced

33.2 percent of public high school graduates in the class of 2013 took an AP Exam
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Here in my state, it came to light a handful of years ago, that a couple of the inner city high schools were using their high school budgets to pay for minority students to go to cc "for free." The schools would delay the graduations of the students until they were able to finish their associates.

 

Well, it became a case of shutting down this covert arrangement for everyone, or opening it up to all high school students. We ended up with early college programs in every school, with homeschool families able to take advantage of it by signing up with a charter school. The charter school becomes the conduit for the money, but the homeschooled student doesn't have to attend any of the classes at the school.

 

At the same time, AP students weren't necessarily passing the exams after doing all of the class work.

Edited by Fifiruth

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I got a district newsletter in the mail a couple of weeks ago.  It says our district made the US News & World Report list of best high schools in the state for the third consecutive year, "based on student performance indicators such as state exams, Advanced Placement course offerings, etc."

 

 8% of seniors attempted AP tests. 56% of those got 3s or above.

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Yes, and the AP ratings are based on the percentage of seniors who received a 3 or more on at least ONE exam, not the percentage of all exams taken that received passing scores.

 

I know the arguments for opening up AP classes to more students rather than offering fewer AP classes with more selectivity for which students are allowed to take them. However, I think things will continue to be somewhat of a mess as long as school districts and lists like US News use APs as a metric with such low bars for student success, and universities favor them as evidence of rigor in a transcript. I don't know that students are so much better prepared for college now than 30 years ago, even with the average college-bound student going to a mid-tier state school now expected to have at least a good handful of APs.

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How many of AP are college bound would be a good number to compare.  At our neighborhood public high school that I cited above, apparently 94% attend "college" in some form.

At my boys' private high school, the stats aren't very far off from our neighborhood high school, just a bit higher as one might expect from a high school that doesn't admit everyone.  99% enroll in 4-yr universities, 64% OOS, 36% in-state, 53% public and 47% private.  The colleges run the gamut from non-selective to super-selective.  Average ACT 26.8.  Out of 900 students, 317 students took 609 AP tests. 86% of those taking an AP test scored 3, 4 or 5 on the exam.

 

In this example, even though some of those tests presumably were taken by underclassmen, I would assume the seniors also took exams as underclassmen, so I think it's fair to guess that, say, among the 200 seniors, students took 609 tests over their four years.  A group at the top will have taken 6-8 tests and many will have taken 4-5, so even in this entirely college-bound population, a good number will have taken zero APs.  Extremely few will have taken, say, 10.  The school allows anyone to take an AP as long as the prerequisite courses have been taken, but they're very strict about math and science placement for freshmen, which affects both the math and science tracks.  The only AP commonly taken before jr yr is AP World in 10th but I don't know the percentage, maybe half.

 

 

Does this stat work?  https://www.collegeboard.org/releases/2014/class-2013-advanced-placement-results-announced

 

According to overall stats (I just looked up), 44% of high school grads enroll (immediately) into 4 year colleges:

 

https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=51

 

25% enroll in a two year college.

 

If our school is a good measure, those going to 4 year colleges are more likely to take DE courses by a large margin.  If you take the 33% who take at least one AP exam and add to it those from my school (and similar) where DE is the only option (no AP), I think there's a pretty overwhelming majority of the 4 year college bound who take at least one course of one or the other.

 

I agree that extremely few will have taken 10.  I think extremely few will have 6 or 8.  Many will have 1 to 4.

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It's interesting to note that in Russia (which is still HIGHLY socialized), so many people have degrees and an excellent education, but they don't work in their field.  I have a lot of highly educated friends from Russia.  The government pays for college (assuming you pass the very difficult entrance tests) and funnels tons of people through all kinds of degrees from high Tech to linguist to literature, and they get out...and either don't work at all (the mothers generally stay home with their children), or don't work in their field.  

 

The education is excellent.  One of my Russian friends works at a high powered Silicon Valley company and is great at math, speaks excellent English as soon as he arrived...but was not finding work in Russia.  My friend described the work for her degree and it sounds very comprehensive, very detailed, a lot of writing and analyzing, a lot of learning foreign language....it's a "good education"..

 

But if you pump out more people into the economy with high level degrees and you keep taking from the economy to produce the money to pay for this education, the whole system starts to be counter-productive.

 

I fear that is where we are headed.

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There are a lot of different reasons. Not giving enough options to students in highschool to take advanced courses or take any specialized courses in fields they are interested in. Many high school students are capable of intro level college classes, especially when they are prepared with strong academics in middle school. Most start from the beginning of the subject anyways and/or can be taught at a slower pace. It can also save time and money for students during undergrad or to begin working right after highschool.

 

The majority of students in my area graduate with college credit, but for many of them it is career and technical education programs. 

 

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From my state's department of education webpage

 

"California Education Code (EC) Section 11302 declares that Early College High School (ECHS) are innovative partnerships between charter or non-charter public secondary schools and a local community college, the California State University, or the University of California that allow pupils to earn a high school diploma and up to two years of college credit in four years or less.

...

ECHS facilitate a greater participation of at-risk, low-income, and students of color in college level courses. ECHS potentially decrease high school drop-out rates while increasing students’ access to post-secondary education. Students are rewarded for hard work by the opportunity to accelerate at typically minor cost to the student. The physical transition between high school and college is eliminated, and learning takes place in a personalized environment where rigorous work is demanded and supported." http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/hs/echsgen.asp

 

So one of the aims of early college high school was to reduce high school drop out rates.

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We had Honors courses back in the day, but for many of us who were "honor roll" students, those weren't challenging enough or plentiful. So DE made up for that.

 

DE here isn't on campus though. The kids have to drive to the good CC an hour away to get their coursework because we are way out in the sticks, and can't provide enough students to warrant setting aside the instructor. The students then are sitting in on a regular college environment with older students, and I think that is better than DE provided on high school campus which can get watered down when all of the students are high schoolers.

 

DE has also allowed my youngest to have college physics with some very sweet lab items that I can't afford to provide at home.

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DE has also allowed my youngest to have college physics with some very sweet lab items that I can't afford to provide at home.

This too. Ds is taking Chem next year at the CC for the same reason.

 

Interestingly, he showed up out of the blue one day this spring in the physics dept at our CC with a physics project (for his Clover creek physics class), looking to use some equipment & they were thrilled... Called over a few other professors from down the hall to come watch too...

Im sure "the homeschool kid who wanted to stress test his bridge" was talked about for awhile after ;)

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My son finished his A.A. degree with dual enrollment during high school.  His reasoning was "why would I want to do 2 extra years of school if I don't have to?" :)  

My daughter will not do any dual enrollment because she has some learning challenges and does not want the stress of college too soon.

 

I actually did "early admission" to college for my senior year back in 1984 which was basically dual enrollment, so the concept has been around for a while.

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Also, financially speaking, people in our circles do one of three things: 1. If they can afford it, move to great school districts (where an entry level home is around a million dollars for an older home under 2000 sq feet), 2. If they can afford it and kids get in, go to private school (circa 40K/yr), 3. Stay in a modest apartment in the city and play the selective school game via cram schools in the summer or getting lucky at the gifted and talented lottery.

For the money, I can pay for my child to go full time to the local SUNY*, call it high school, and it would be cheaper than any of those options. Is a SUNY education for high school better than a selective NYC private or public? I don't know, but we get to pick classes this way.

* this is somewhat theoretical because there's credit limits.

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When Kindergarten became an all day level and was more like 1st grade than K and 6th grade became a middle school level.  push push push

I was pushy and was ready to graduate my oldest at 16 but changed my mind once we were there.  DE is done here at Jr. and Sr. level because with this one I was done with all I could teach by the end of 10th grade.

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When Kindergarten became an all day level...

 

This varies so much by region.  I went to all day K back in the early 70's.  The school district I work in now still has half day.

 

Top kids from the school where I grew up regularly went to top level schools.  They started tracking us (at that time) at third grade, progressing with more separation each year.  In the early 80s we had AP classes/tests we could take when we were seniors.

 

Kids at the district I work in rarely go to top level schools.  There is far less tracking too - some within classes (reading levels), but no "classes of your own" until middle school I think.  As mentioned before, we've dropped AP (few did well on tests) in favor of DE.

 

It could easily depend upon how much a community values education and sets standards.  There's no difference in kids or the range of abilities.  There are only differences in expectations of what kids can do if given opportunities to do so.  Both are small town areas.  The school I work at has twice the graduating class size as the one I went to, but otherwise the demographics (poverty levels, etc) are similar.

 

I started homeschooling when my oldest hit 9th grade simply because I wanted my kids to have more of "my" high school educational experience than what our district offers.  In hindsight, I'd have pulled each kid out at 7th grade.  My youngest opted to go back to high school for social reasons, but he'll even admit his education was lower academically than his brothers.  

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I am reading a book on college admissions now and the author mentions the sheer number of kids in our school system today compared to just a few generations ago. The kids of the kids of all those baby boomers...plus immigration. Many more kids = more attention/awareness.

That really struck me because we just attended a relative's graduation ceremony from a suburb of one of the larger cities in the nation. There were two pages off top students - either AP scholars, graduating with associate's, etc. But when I counted up their names, it was 70 top students. Out of a class of 700, that is just 10% of the student body. I would expect 10% to be above average. But 10% from the high school my husband and I attended would have been one or two students, not 70.

The author had a few more opinions related to this topic, but that is the one that stood out the most to me right now.

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While the parents in my neck of the woods discuss how many AP classes their kids are taking and their kids' gpas, no one discusses how the kids perform on the AP exams, most likely because the AP exam scores are terrible.  My local high school was just named one of the most rigorous schools in America, and this designation was based on the number of AP classes offered, not how the students score on the exams.  This is the same school where my homeschooled kiddo was the only person in the exam room actually taking the AP exam - most of the kids brought a pillow and blanket and slept, while three other students brought crayons and colored in the test booklet.  The kids told my son that no one had ever passed the exam, and the highest score ever was a 2, so they weren't even going to bother trying.

 

Just another reason why "AP" does not always equate to college level.  Even if the AP content is college level, there is no guarantee that the class is actually being taught at a college level.

 

If you are curious how the students in your school perform on the AP exams, request a copy of the school's College Board Summary Report.  That was a real eye-opener for me.

 

Wow.  My mind is officially blown.  

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All of my kids so far have done trade school and or cc starting in 11th grade. Much as I love them, I don't feel they are exceptional students. We do it because they have exceeded my ability at home in some subjects. I'm fairly certain I would never have been able to teach machining, German, how to fly, premed type classes, or graphic arts. Very few high schools have genuine skills based classes here. There are no shop classes, no higher art classes, there might be enough Spanish to say their name and count to ten. And many of the schools don't have the money to hire teachers able to teach "advanced" classes like calculus or more than basic chemistry/biology. Dual enrollment at trade schools and CC are the only options and even then, only if the student has the ability to get themselves there. Students without their own car and parents able to pay for it are SOL.

 

Personally I've thought for years that high school should end at 16 and more opportunities should be open for those last 2 years.

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I know 3 students who graduated with 3.5-4 gpa and several AP classes who had to take remedial English and or math classes at the Cc. I asked how they did on the AP exams and they or their mom said, "what's an AP exam?"

 

*smdh*

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I know 3 students who graduated with 3.5-4 gpa and several AP classes who had to take remedial English and or math classes at the Cc. I asked how they did on the AP exams and they or their mom said, "what's an AP exam?"

 

*smdh*

 

They weren't doing that great if they had several AP classes and that low of a GPA.   AP is on a 5 scale, and if you kinda-sort try in an AP class and don't cause trouble the teacher will give you a B, which is a 4.   

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They weren't doing that great if they had several AP classes and that low of a GPA. AP is on a 5 scale, and if you kinda-sort try in an AP class and don't cause trouble the teacher will give you a B, which is a 4.

Not every school weights honors or app classes.

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I think we have a few things going on here.

 

Students are being pushed. I don't think pushing is always a good thing. Mental health issues are still climbing. Our kids are not as healthy as they were.

 

I think some AP/college classes are not so much harder than a high school class, but a DIFFERENT class. I think some students are sacrificing more important topics for less important ones. Sometimes students area sacrificing foundational topics to cover topics with more prestige.

 

I think some classes are watered down and AP in name only.

 

I do not think the scope and sequences that I'm seeing more and more often are the best ones possible for the majority of students.

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We hsed in California, where community colleges are very affordable, there are no laws regarding how old people have to be to attend, there are no requirements to enroll, and the state university and college systems accept transfer students ahead of high school students (at least, the last was true 20 years ago when my dds were attending). It made no sense to me to do four years of high school and then to take most of the same classes again as the required lower division classes at the c.c. So my dc did c.c. instead of high school, beginning when they were 14yo.

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My oldest earned a GENERAL diploma through American School and then started early at the local CC to earn a 2 year degree in business. He SKIPPED many of the traditional college prep courses, and that worked splendidly for him, BUT, and it is a BIG but, I wouldn't want to make what I allowed, more than chose, for him to be a default.

 

My youngest :lol:, just did what he did.

 

Homeschooling is all about options, and is favored by non-traditionalists.

 

Early CC is one of many excellent option for homeschoolers.

 

But if we are moving back to brick and mortar high schools and the AVERAGE student, I don't see the changes in most of those brick and mortar schools to be positive changes for the majority of students. And I don't think what we THINK we see on paper and/or are hearing about is always an accurate description of what is taking place in the classroom.

 

I'm just really glad there is the option to homeschool and that brick and mortar is not the only option.

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Also, financially speaking, people in our circles do one of three things: 1. If they can afford it, move to great school districts (where an entry level home is around a million dollars for an older home under 2000 sq feet), 2. If they can afford it and kids get in, go to private school (circa 40K/yr), 3. Stay in a modest apartment in the city and play the selective school game via cram schools in the summer or getting lucky at the gifted and talented lottery.

 

Where I live, all the money cannot buy you a school experience that is different from the single local high school, unless you send your kids to boarding school several hours away. No private schools, no "better" school district, no gifted schools. Homeschooling is the only alternative for parents who do not wish to move to the city 100 miles away commute, so their kids can attend a "better" school. My friends who did this are quite disappointed when, despite this sacrifice, even the ps in the best school district in the city cannot deliver an education that is on par with their own ps education in their home country.

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They weren't doing that great if they had several AP classes and that low of a GPA.   AP is on a 5 scale, and if you kinda-sort try in an AP class and don't cause trouble the teacher will give you a B, which is a 4.   

 

I know that you are absolutely correct about the bolded, but still, this makes me nuts. :cursing:

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They just use different names for not quite the same thing. High school classes are not hard. They tell the kids they are hard, but they aren't. My DS was all excited to get in an advanced, "challenging" program, but has been seriously disappointed. You know what's hard? Lukeion and AOPS which he was doing in middle school. HS has nothing like that and he was expecting a full load of that level.

 

"Advanced" classes are yesterday's normal classes. I guess. When I was in HS, we were writing 5-15 pg papers regularly. DS writes paragraphs and 1-2 pages MAX. When I was in HS, you didn't take an AP class unless you intended to get a 5 on the test, and nothing less was accepted. Today, kids take it hoping for 3s. Colleges don't even let you opt out of the classes half the time if you do get a 5. I think AP classes on an application must look like, "won't have to take remedial classes."

 

Because the average class is not hard, kids who actually want a challenge often do dual enrollment at the CC. But the CC classes are not hard. They are HS level classes which haven't been watered down. I haven't been an undergrad in years, but the last time I graded undergrad papers (as a grad student) I saw atrocious writing in students who had actually graduated high school and been accepted in a college that was considered good. I was not allowed to grade those papers as they deserved. I can only imagine that things have not improved over 13 years. 

 

It's grade inflation, word manipulation, and no real advance in difficulty from what I see. I'm sure there are actually challenging schools somewhere, but we're supposedly in a very good nationally ranked school. 

 

It makes no sense- kids are expected to do everything in K and lower elementary, but somehow they aren't showing any real advancement compared to earlier years in HS. FWIW, the class choices are very different than when my parents were kids, and somewhat different than when I was a kid. DS takes more classes a year, has more elective options, and gets to do more interesting things in his HS. Perhaps the cost of more variety is less focus on the traditional subjects. 

This is a little too generalized but makes some good points. Many states offer some kind of school choice option at the high school level to allow a more challenging high school experience. I believe much of the fault is with the parents who don't want to challenge their kids and accept that the average HS class is sub-standard so their child can get a an easy B. The school administrators tend to kow-tow to these parents when they complain. At my son's B&M charter they were very surprised when I complained that the math and science classes were too easy! [Due to it's small size it does not have "honors" versions of these classes.]

 

I do agree grade inflation is rampant compared to my time in HS.

 

not all CC are bad see:

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/646969-when-did-high-school-become-jr-college/?p=7618185

 

Our local CC just recently went through an accreditation "scare" but it had nothing to with the academics it was all about administrative mis-conduct and sexual harassment.  Those are important but seems like that would be a county legal issue not an accreditation issue.

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Where I live, all the money cannot buy you a school experience that is different from the single local high school, unless you send your kids to boarding school several hours away. No private schools, no "better" school district, no gifted schools. Homeschooling is the only alternative for parents who do not wish to move to the city 100 miles away commute, so their kids can attend a "better" school. My friends who did this are quite disappointed when, despite this sacrifice, even the ps in the best school district in the city cannot deliver an education that is on par with their own ps education in their home country.

That is sad.  At least in AZ we have some choices.

 

What about state paid for online charter schools - a few of these have more some challenging AP and honors classes?

It was one of our options here in AZ.  We went the B&M charter route.

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That is sad.  At least in AZ we have some choices.

 

What about state paid for online charter schools - a few of these have more some challenging AP and honors classes?

It was one of our options here in AZ.  We went the B&M charter route.

 

I don't think it has to do with state, but rather with the limitations of a small town that is 1.5-2 hours from the nearest larger city.

 

My state has a virtual school; however, when I last checked it was no longer free to use, and only mediclly fragile, home bound ps studnets were allowed to enroll. I believe they have widened enrollment options now, but do charge tuition ($300/course/semester)

Edited by regentrude
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We hsed in California, where community colleges are very affordable, there are no laws regarding how old people have to be to attend, there are no requirements to enroll, and the state university and college systems accept transfer students ahead of high school students (at least, the last was true 20 years ago when my dds were attending). It made no sense to me to do four years of high school and then to take most of the same classes again as the required lower division classes at the c.c. So my dc did c.c. instead of high school, beginning when they were 14yo.

This,

 

Now they have a few more requirements (our CC just started requiring a form that you have "completed high school" via CHSPE or regular graduation) ...

 

And my kids aren't going at 14.  One is going at 15 and the other likely 16.5. BY the time they are 18 they will have completed their Associates, saved me about 1000.00 per year on high school classes, and saved us ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS on the first two years of University.

 

I am probably going to be speaking at homeschool groups about this option.  Because there are so many homeschoolers that dont realize how great it is.

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This,

 

Now they have a few more requirements (our CC just started requiring a form that you have "completed high school" via CHSPE or regular graduation) ...

 

And my kids aren't going at 14.  One is going at 15 and the other likely 16.5. BY the time they are 18 they will have completed their Associates, saved me about 1000.00 per year on high school classes, and saved us ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS on the first two years of University.

 

I am probably going to be speaking at homeschool groups about this option.  Because there are so many homeschoolers that dont realize how great it is.

 

I went to the first CHEA convention in 1983 (84?). The only workshops I went to all day were about how to get your children through high school (my dc were 4 and 7 at the time, lol). Jonathan Lindvall was one of the speakers; do you know of him? Anyway, that's what he said: do c.c. instead of high school. I owned/administered a PSP for 16 years, and I always encouraged my families to do that. So some of us have been saying that for over 30 years. You can never say things enough (or too much), of course. :-) Sadly, the majority of PSPs encourage a 12-years-just-like-school thing, so there's that.

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Yes, Our previous PSP really encouraged AP and fulfilling some UC requirements but not all, and focusing on high regular SAT Scores and getting all the classes in, etc. etc. 

 

We switched and the new PSP lady really really really encouraged early cc...and I started to look into it.  I wasn't convinced until I ran our EFC and realized we will not receive a single dime in government loans for our kids, not even a Stafford Loan.  They actually expect us to come up with 300,000.00 out of pocket over the course of 6 years.  

 

Then, the CC started to look better and better.

 

Edited by Calming Tea

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I went to the first CHEA convention in 1983 (84?). The only workshops I went to all day were about how to get your children through high school (my dc were 4 and 7 at the time, lol). Jonathan Lindvall was one of the speakers; do you know of him? Anyway, that's what he said: do c.c. instead of high school. I owned/administered a PSP for 16 years, and I always encouraged my families to do that. So some of us have been saying that for over 30 years. You can never say things enough (or too much), of course. :-) Sadly, the majority of PSPs encourage a 12-years-just-like-school thing, so there's that.

 

The problem is, I have heard two ladies speak about it, in a local "Homeschool Moms Panel"

 

Every other parent there, both times, had so much enthusiasm for getting "Straight into Berkeley, UCLA or another big name u" out of high school homeschool.  THe unschoolers had so much enthusiasm for their kids home business or farming or whatever.  THe ones who used a local two day per week AP Homeschool Academy went on about that...

 

The CC mom, both times seemed to feel embarrassed or that her choice was less amazing or less stellar than getting your kid straight into University.  Really?  Why are you embarrassed?  You saved your kid (or yourself) 60 grand! Your kid had small class sizes, professors who knew their name, possibility of doing the Honors Circle, ....etc.  

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The CC mom, both times seemed to feel embarrassed or that her choice was less amazing or less stellar than getting your kid straight into University. Really? Why are you embarrassed? You saved your kid (or yourself) 60 grand!

Getting a kid straight into university as a transfer student with an associates degree in hand as a high school graduate isn't embarrassing. Like I said upthread, my car mechanic's daughter would have her high school diploma from her school district, her associates degree from the early college program that her school district runs, when she finish 12th grade. She is very driven and has a high chance of transferring to a state university.

 

I do think there is an unspoken slight around my area that going to community college after high school then transferring means that the child either could not get a place or the family could not afford college.

However taking classes at community college while still in public high school on the district's dime is seen as family cost saving and a good move which given how much of our property tax goes to the district, people just want to try to get "their money's worth".

 

My nearby community college has a schedule for transfer reps visits which includes even out of state universities like UMich (https://www.deanza.edu/transfercenter/repvisits.html). Your community college may have something similar and might be helpful for your son to drop in and ask campus specific questions.

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I think the drive to get rid of all tracking is a factor.

 

One thing I think about is that a few generations ago in some places, a lot of kids finished school at about 14.  And if it was a good school, most of them came out with enough math to go into trades (which often means more than those in the humanities use in university,) solid writing skills, and knowing enough about history and such to be good citizens.  Then they might go on to a vocational program of apprenticeship, or if they were university bound, they'd do a few years of "college" polishing up their academic subjects.

 

I think

 our high school level education has become really insipid, for pretty much all the students.  As have the expectations at university.

 

Edited by Bluegoat
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I think cc is a great option for a good number of kids, but there are many kids where it might not be the best. For example, 3 of my kids are athletes and they do want and will be able to go straight into a four year option. Some cc's are not very good, some are great. DE in high school might be good or watered down. Everyone's circumstances, academic and financial, are different. 

 

I have not been very impressed with the move to DE. Especially when school report stagnant or dipping ACT/SAT scores and frankly, absymal rates on AP tests. I would prefer adding vocational and certificate tracks back in and teachers in high school holding students to much higher standards. But that also assumes that high school teachers are highly qualified in their fields. Which is a different debate.

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I think cc is a great option for a good number of kids, but there are many kids where it might not be the best. For example, 3 of my kids are athletes and they do want and will be able to go straight into a four year option. Some cc's are not very good, some are great. DE in high school might be good or watered down. Everyone's circumstances, academic and financial, are different.

 

I have not been very impressed with the move to DE. Especially when school report stagnant or dipping ACT/SAT scores and frankly, absymal rates on AP tests. I would prefer adding vocational and certificate tracks back in and teachers in high school holding students to much higher standards. But that also assumes that high school teachers are highly qualified in their fields. Which is a different debate.

This is very true. It's a vast minoroty of kids that will be recruited to play NCAA sports. But If that is on the radar, you definitely won't want to do CC-transfer.

 

But that wouldn't keep you from Dual Enrollment :)

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Paying full price keeps me from doing more than one DE class per semester.

 

Yes--it's cheaper here to graduate and then go to CC if you are eligible for grants and scholarships (and our CC has a good foundation with a good number of scholarships). DE just wasn't worth it here (though they do have a few programs for specific classes through the high schools if a student knows what they want to do.)

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I just looked at our district high school. The one AP they offered this year was taught by someone who retired two weeks ago. The move to dual credit for those kids is a must. In our state you need at least one AP or DE course for an academic honors diploma.

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^^ wow.  Are you in either an extremely rural area or an extremely impoverished urban area?

 

I can't look around me to get ideas, because I live in the most academic hotbed in the entire US...but even "back home" in Jersey, or the not very awesome schools back in FL, there are tons of AP courses.  It's the "big thing" everywhere I look.   I'm trying to even picture a public high school in the US that only has one AP offering...

 

Just curious :)

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