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I don’t regularly post much anymore and tend to hang out on the college board.  I plan to cross-post this article there as well.  Pertinent information for those looking at college admissions in the future.  I think this poses a bit of a challenge for homeschoolers at certain colleges and universities. 

https://www.compassprep.com/sat-changes-announced/?fbclid=IwAR22J1Ir7jzolmsw4OACo-pGBhutUJZWdQ3V6iKeGF1R1iQjYXJju2zkFJ0

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No.  CB is trying to normalize achievement by bringing down access to AP to every student and thereby controlling content.  All it can possibly do is lead to a reduction of content bc the vast majorit

I don’t regularly post much anymore and tend to hang out on the college board.  I plan to cross-post this article there as well.  Pertinent information for those looking at college admissions in the f

I agree @Dmmetler Access is now unequal.  All students, whether private, ps, or homeschool, are at the mercy of a school not only offering but also granting access for an AP vs being able to independe

As a relative newbie to this whole college game (I have a freshman in high school), I am not sure how to process this. What do you homeschool veterans think?  I am not even to the point of identifying potential colleges, although I know one of the local ones (not likely to be on our list) required the SAT subject test for biology.  

Is it wrong for me to sigh that we are pushing APs so hard? At least when I was in school (you know, back in the age of the dinosaurs), AP meant you were a very intelligent kid, an exceptional student. Where is the path for the "normal" kid here? Or am I just misinterpreting all of this?

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Thanks for posting, Cynthia.  I think it stinks and is a power play by CB to control more academic content and courses through AP being the only alternative.  I hope colleges come up with different admission options.

Spoiler

 

 

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WOW!!!  Mine are in the middle of 10th grade.  We got one for Biology out of the way in August.  Was planning on 2 more over the next few years.  We were planning some CLEP, AP, and DE in there too, but will have to come up with another plan to substitute for the SAT2.  It doesn't help that my boys don't have any idea where they might want to go to college yet 😬!

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DD will be thrilled— she was going to begin prepping for Bio & Math 2. But, had I known, we might have taken AP Bio this year rather than Honors + SAT 2.

A few of the programs she was considering required SAT 2s. It will be interesting to see how long it takes them to update their requirements for class of ‘22.

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WOW...This is outrageous. I'm digesting this new on little sleep but my mind is blown. Seems odd to me...it's an immediate stop (don't they usually give a few months warning?!) and drastically affects homeschoolers. Mine had not been planning on taking the subject SAT's but it was a possibility if needed. I've said for a couple of years the large number of kids taking AP is, well, just plain weird. As someone already said, back in the day (early 90's) AP was for exceptional students. Now, every kid I know in public high school has taken at least 4 AP classes by his junior year...if not more (this is based on totally unscientific observations of my friends kids). AP classes have become the standard rather than the exception. The fact that it is routine in my area for kids to take 2 AP classes their freshman year boggles my mind. I feel like every year the requirements for college acceptance become narrower and narrower. Our kids aren't carbon copies of each other! Ugh.

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3 minutes ago, ShepCarlin said:

WOW...This is outrageous. I'm digesting this new on little sleep but my mind is blown. Seems odd to me...it's an immediate stop (don't they usually give a few months warning?!) and drastically affects homeschoolers. Mine had not been planning on taking the subject SAT's but it was a possibility if needed. I've said for a couple of years the large number of kids taking AP is, well, just plain weird. As someone already said, back in the day (early 90's) AP was for exceptional students. Now, every kid I know in public high school has taken at least 4 AP classes by his junior year...if not more (this is based on totally unscientific observations of my friends kids). AP classes have become the standard rather than the exception. The fact that it is routine in my area for kids to take 2 AP classes their freshman year boggles my mind. I feel like every year the requirements for college acceptance become narrower and narrower. Our kids aren't carbon copies of each other! Ugh.

No.  CB is trying to normalize achievement by bringing down access to AP to every student and thereby controlling content.  All it can possibly do is lead to a reduction of content bc the vast majority of 9th graders are not ready for college level work.    

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FWIW, University of Toronto, which did want SAT subject tests or AP exams was willing to accept college courses at the same level/areas, stating that while they preferred exams from US students, they understood that there wasn't really enough time to do both paths. Having said that, another young person I know who has a lot of college credit and is applying to schools in the UK, Australia and NZ did end up taking AP exams after completing college coursework because they needed to prove English proficiency. 

 

I do hope that either the college board allows direct registration for AP exams or that schools drop the SAT subject tests without replacing them with AP. There was ONE local school, pre-COVID, that would allow homeschoolers to register. The SAT subject tests had a lot fewer barriers. 

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44 minutes ago, 8filltheheart said:

No.  CB is trying to normalize achievement by bringing down access to AP to every student and thereby controlling content.  All it can possibly do is lead to a reduction of content bc the vast majority of 9th graders are not ready for college level work.    

 

So your take is that CB is bringing down the level of AP from what it was, say, 25 years ago?  That the AP designation is not super meaningful?  

What are the colleges thinking about this?  Do you think they see that it is not as meaningful anymore?

I have friends whose kids are taking five or six AP classes. And it "seems" like it is much more common to take AP than it was when I was in school in the 90's.   

Maybe this is another thread?

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I agree @Dmmetler Access is now unequal.  All students, whether private, ps, or homeschool, are at the mercy of a school not only offering but also granting access for an AP vs being able to independently register for a test anywhere SATs are being offered.  It is a power grab and control.   Not to mention that APs are supposed to be representative of college level work and subject tests high school.

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2 minutes ago, cintinative said:

 

So your take is that CB is bringing down the level of AP from what it was, say, 25 years ago?  That the AP designation is not super meaningful?  

What are the colleges thinking about this?  Do you think they see that it is not as meaningful anymore?

I have friends whose kids are taking five or six AP classes. And it "seems" like it is much more common to take AP than it was when I was in school in the 90's.   

Maybe this is another thread?

Many colleges are not granting credit for certain AP exams (like human geography bc so many 9th graders are taking the exam) or environmental, etc bc the content is not college level. 

 

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What a mess 😞 !!!!

2.5 more years of this crap and I am done!  I'm glad I'm getting both of mine done at the same time at this point!!!  One time through!  Bonus of having twins 😁

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2 hours ago, mlktwins said:

What a mess 😞 !!!!

2.5 more years of this crap and I am done!  I'm glad I'm getting both of mine done at the same time at this point!!!  One time through!  Bonus of having twins 😁

Mine are a year apart and I do agree to your sentiments. I just need to make sure I am editing and sending the correct high school transcripts to the community college for dual enrollment purposes.

SAT subject test likely isn’t as profitable as AP exams for CollegeBoard and now is a convenient time for them to use COVID-19 as an excuse to drop SAT subject tests. 

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Outside of CA (and maybe a few other states requiring validation of homeschool courses), teacher-designed courses are perfectly acceptable.  It takes more effort to demonstrate meaningful accomplishments in a few subjects, but it is possible.

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I guess I'm just feeling relieved that we don't have to worry about them for my next ds.  The older two didn't need them (and managed to get into some good schools without them). 

The CB absolutely needs to solve the problem of homeschoolers getting access to the AP tests now, though.

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5 hours ago, MamaSprout said:

We had two schools we took off of our list b/c they required SAT subject tests for homeschoolers. Hopefully AP is more available.

It's harder to find AP testing sites than it is SAT subject test sites. Having to go AP is not an advantage.

My high school junior is pleased, though the Math2 she was supposed to take in June would likely have been fine for her. This situation would have certainly been an advantage for my oldest daughter who had an interesting set of experiences and classes but terrible test anxiety. She missed out on opportunities because the subject tests were a no go for her. My second daughter certainly gained a boost from the several she took.

Will be interesting to see how this plays out. They will still need a way to differentiate between the endless numbers of 4.0 students. I suspect essays will take on even more importance. I was personally a student who haaaated writing essays but rocked standardized testing.

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We have an high school a few miles from us that has the AP Scholar specialty program.  Our school boundaries were revised last year and this school will now be our base school starting next school year.  Hoping this makes things easier for us.

ETA:  Removed quote as I included it by accident 🙂

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4 hours ago, cintinative said:

So your take is that CB is bringing down the level of AP from what it was, say, 25 years ago?

Some of the classes, like psychology and environmental science, are ridiculously easy.  Far, far easier than honors high school courses (in my son's experience).

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32 minutes ago, freesia said:

The CB absolutely needs to solve the problem of homeschoolers getting access to the AP tests now, though.

I don't think they care about homeschoolers.

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11 minutes ago, GoodGrief3 said:

It's harder to find AP testing sites than it is SAT subject test sites. Having to go AP is not an advantage.

My high school junior is pleased, though the Math2 she was supposed to take in June would likely have been fine for her. This situation would have certainly been an advantage for my oldest daughter who had an interesting set of experiences and classes but terrible test anxiety. She missed out on opportunities because the subject tests were a no go for her. My second daughter certainly gained a boost from the several she took.

Will be interesting to see how this plays out. They will still need a way to differentiate between the endless numbers of 4.0 students. I suspect essays will take on even more importance. I was personally a student who haaaated writing essays but rocked standardized testing.

I hear you on the AP... It would be nice if they made it more available. We have a test site for this year (and fingers crossed). This is the first time this school has ever had an outside student take AP exams through them, or to even ask! I don't see Dd doing any more APs after this, though. It's just that the English Comp and Calc at our only DE option either won't transfer or she couldn't get into the class. So for us, not having SAT 2 is just one less thing and actually adds two schools to our list that we would not seriously consider before (unless they add some other ridiculous homeschooler requirement). I hope the CLEP increases in value. They are so much more accessible, although we do need to drive an hour to the closest location.

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I despise the college board after doing so much with them when the oldest was getting ready to graduate. They rereleased tests and then made one way too easy. He did well on Subject tests but all in all I'd be happy to never have to give them another dime. My two middles care less about academics and will take ACT and that's it. Test out of a few classes via clep maybe but my youngest. I have no idea what the college/ testing/ financial world will look like in 5 years. I will have to learn from scratch I think!

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12 hours ago, 8filltheheart said:

No.  CB is trying to normalize achievement by bringing down access to AP to every student and thereby controlling content.  All it can possibly do is lead to a reduction of content bc the vast majority of 9th graders are not ready for college level work.    

I strenuously disagree that any AP course is college level.  I think those classes are honors level high school at best, and more likely just what a regular high school level class ought to be, but rarely is.  

I'm melancholy about the end of SAT subject tests, mainly because I took them back when they were called SAT II's.  If you paid attention in class, and got an A, you usually didn't need much (or any) additional study to clear 700-800, and showed colleges that at least your learned something, albeit not very much.  

While I'm no fan of the College Board, their AP courses provide students in the United States some much-needed standardization in high school curricula.  A 5 on AP Calculus BC means something, while an "A" in some generic high school calculus class means very little.  And while I'm no free market proponent, in this case I find that a private company has stepped in where government has failed to do so.  Or where government tried to set some standards with Common Core and was punished for doing so.  

ETA:  And precisely because CB is a private company and not the government, they are under no obligation to provide equal access to their AP exams, which we know hurts us homeschoolers.  

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14 hours ago, mlktwins said:

What a mess 😞 !!!!

2.5 more years of this crap and I am done!  I'm glad I'm getting both of mine done at the same time at this point!!!  One time through!  Bonus of having twins 😁

I have twins and then one 2.5 years younger, and they've ended up all graduating 1 semester from each other (one last May, one this December, and one next May).  Whew!  That was intense.  I'll be glad when that's done.  (well, first one 'done' is pivoting and going to do more school for something else, but first pass is done...)

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9 hours ago, daijobu said:

I strenuously disagree that any AP course is college level.  I think those classes are honors level high school at best, and more likely just what a regular high school level class ought to be, but rarely is.  

I'm melancholy about the end of SAT subject tests, mainly because I took them back when they were called SAT II's.  If you paid attention in class, and got an A, you usually didn't need much (or any) additional study to clear 700-800, and showed colleges that at least your learned something, albeit not very much.  

While I'm no fan of the College Board, their AP courses provide students in the United States some much-needed standardization in high school curricula.  A 5 on AP Calculus BC means something, while an "A" in some generic high school calculus class means very little.  And while I'm no free market proponent, in this case I find that a private company has stepped in where government has failed to do so.  Or where government tried to set some standards with Common Core and was punished for doing so.  

ETA:  And precisely because CB is a private company and not the government, they are under no obligation to provide equal access to their AP exams, which we know hurts us homeschoolers.  

I'm not sure you are disagreeing with me.  The original intent of AP courses was to allow advanced students to complete college level work in high school.  I took APs back in the early 80s.  Only a small % of students were working at that level in my high school.  They were college leve in content.  I had mono the week of AP exams and couldn't take them.  My U allowed me to take the final exam for their intro classes that I had taken APs in.  The ones I took I easily passed.

Today's "AP for everyone" has diluted content.  I do believe some are still on par with college-level content or at least they were in 2014 which is the last time I had a student who graduated with AP credits and had zero problems in upper level coursework (chemistry and cal).   We have rejected the AP route for the most part in our homeschool bc of the narrow focus of AP content.  

 

 

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9 hours ago, daijobu said:

I strenuously disagree that any AP course is college level.  I think those classes are honors level high school at best, and more likely just what a regular high school level class ought to be, but rarely is.  

I'm melancholy about the end of SAT subject tests, mainly because I took them back when they were called SAT II's.  If you paid attention in class, and got an A, you usually didn't need much (or any) additional study to clear 700-800, and showed colleges that at least your learned something, albeit not very much.  

While I'm no fan of the College Board, their AP courses provide students in the United States some much-needed standardization in high school curricula.  A 5 on AP Calculus BC means something, while an "A" in some generic high school calculus class means very little.  And while I'm no free market proponent, in this case I find that a private company has stepped in where government has failed to do so.  Or where government tried to set some standards with Common Core and was punished for doing so.  

ETA:  And precisely because CB is a private company and not the government, they are under no obligation to provide equal access to their AP exams, which we know hurts us homeschoolers.  

Could not agree more on the need for APs. They’re not college classes of nothing else because they take all year long to cover what’s covered in a semester. The curve is also something else (I’m pretty sure for a, what, 82% or whatever it is would not be an A in most college classes. 
Issue is that the government needs to do this, not a private company. It’s just this SAT subject test discontinuation  is so cynical but in fact exactly what one would expect of a private company, cutting an underperforming product. APs, well, one criteria for rating public schools is “AP participation” so they have a captive audience there. I wish college board would be regulated like a utility at the very least. 

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From the NY Times this morning.  Cue eyeroll !:  

David Coleman, the chief executive officer of the College Board, said the organization’s goal was not to get more students to take A.P. courses and tests, but to eliminate redundant exams, thereby reducing the burden on high school students applying to college.

“Anything that can reduce unnecessary anxiety and get out of the way is of huge value to us,” he said."

 

 

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54 minutes ago, madteaparty said:

Could not agree more on the need for APs. They’re not college classes of nothing else because they take all year long to cover what’s covered in a semester. The curve is also something else (I’m pretty sure for a, what, 82% or whatever it is would not be an A in most college classes. 
Issue is that the government needs to do this, not a private company. It’s just this SAT subject test discontinuation  is so cynical but in fact exactly what one would expect of a private company, cutting an underperforming product. APs, well, one criteria for rating public schools is “AP participation” so they have a captive audience there. I wish college board would be regulated like a utility at the very least. 

Not true of all APs.  BC, chem, bio all cover 2 semesters worth of material, or are supposed to anyway.  THe splitting of AB into a yr with BC for a yr is a new trend.  If both physics C exams are taken in a yr, they are equivalent to semester courses.  The micro and macro courses are typically 1 semester courses.  Macro and micro are 2 others that are typically on par with college level courses.  

I am not a fan of APs, but I don't think it is easy to condemn all of the exams equally.  A lot may be directly connected to how schools have opted to teach them.  (and so reminiscent of the discussion around Connie's chem class!!)

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1 hour ago, cintinative said:

From the NY Times this morning.  Cue eyeroll !:  

David Coleman, the chief executive officer of the College Board, said the organization’s goal was not to get more students to take A.P. courses and tests, but to eliminate redundant exams, thereby reducing the burden on high school students applying to college.

“Anything that can reduce unnecessary anxiety and get out of the way is of huge value to us,” he said."

 

 

Sure 🙄. (My reply is to him).
 Subject tests simple one hour exams allowing kids to showcase their knowledge and homeschoolers to validate coursework for UC purposes. Easy to register, easy to study, easy to take. Now those of us in CA have even fewer options left. 
I understand they got rid of the underperforming product but let’s not pretend they did it for our children. It’s insulting. 

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49 minutes ago, 8filltheheart said:

Not true of all APs.  BC, chem, bio all cover 2 semesters worth of material, or are supposed to anyway.  THe splitting of AB into a yr with BC for a yr is a new trend.  If both physics C exams are taken in a yr, they are equivalent to semester courses.  The micro and macro courses are typically 1 semester courses.  Macro and micro are 2 others that are typically on par with college level courses.  

I am not a fan of APs, but I don't think it is easy to condemn all of the exams equally.  A lot may be directly connected to how schools have opted to teach them.  (and so reminiscent of the discussion around Connie's chem class!!)

Maybe. 
We are taking AP stats, and both want to cry daily - a textbook that takes 10 pages to explain what can be said in 2. The entire material can be taught in 2-3 months. Instead we are spending a year and untold hours weekly on homework and writing FRQs to learn how to word things to CB’s liking and constantly stating the obvious. Shoot us! The biggest mistake we made. 
Now I wonder how many of those AP classes fall into this category. 
I do agree about calculus and sciences though, although college level math should probably have some proofs. BC doesn’t. 

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I also think this move of the College Board discontinuing SAT Subject tests is outrageous. It makes things so much harder for homeschoolers. I contacted our flagship university, which had until recently a reasonable requirement of homeschoolers -- 2 validations per core subject. For example, my DD now at university showed validations mainly with CLEP passing scores but some dual enrollment (total 40 college credits). Now, the Admissions office says they prefer to see regionally accredited courses from homeschoolers when they apply, over a CLEP transcript. So, one can still take & show CLEP test scores to show mastery of a subject, but that seems to now be considered second tier to regionally accredited courses at our flagship. This muddies the water for my youngest, now in 9th grade. My hunch is that if test scores are really good, and some dual enrollment successfully done, and CLEP tests successfully passed, and the essay is great, a homeschooler applying to the state flagship would be competitive to get in, but who knows.

I'm going to contact some other universities about this and see if they have updated their homeschool applicant requirements but not put them on their sites. I know when my daughter was applying to Univ. of Texas at Austin, they didn't have much information on their site about what homeschool applicants should do to apply if they had taken CLEP tests etc. I called and the admissions officer was very excited to hear that I could get DD's CLEP transcript sent along with dual enrollment transcripts from two universities. So, it doesn't hurt to do some homework and call if nothing is listed on the university's site about homeschool applicant requirements. And yes, she was accepted to UT Austin -- and disappointed when we told her the out of state cost was too much for her to attend.

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In fairness, some of the easier AP's are also generally pretty easy college courses. Intro to Psychology simply isn't a terribly rigorous course anywhere, because it's one of those courses normally used to acclimate students to college. It's also a fairly common class for summer programs for high school students that award college credit to offer for the same reason. Environmental science is also generally not a particularly difficult course at the college intro for non-majors level. 

 

One of the courses my father has taught for years is Physical Chemistry II, and he is very against allowing students to skip P Chem I based on AP scores with a very few, specific high school exceptions (one of them being Thomas Jefferson-which really DOES teach college level courses at a college level pace, but is more difficult to get into than most state flagships). The reason is that the typical student who takes a year, or often two year high school chem sequence ending in a 4-5 on the AP chem exam crashes and burns at the pace of P Chem II, especially since they will also almost certainly be ALSO placed into mostly sophomore level courses in other areas. The result is that a lot of hard science/STEM kids end up changing majors away from STEM, when if they had taken the first semester courses they would have had a more gradual introduction and been able to build up the pace. He does not have the same problem with students who take DE courses even at community colleges or less competitive schools, because generally the math co-requisites and math placement tests keep high school students from taking college majors level chemistry classes until they are ready. 

 

He also feels that AP does not serve non-majors well because often college lab experiences in non-majors classes are so much more involved and give the student a better idea of what science really is and what scientists do, because a big focus of college science education for non-majors is science literacy, while AP is theoretically preparing scientists and engineers. He feels it is especially bad for those who will be teaching, who can then end up going through college having placed out of every science class-but had they taken the science lab classes for teachers, would have come out with experiences directly relevant to teaching elementary students to understand science and in teaching kids how to set up their own observations, collect data, etc. 

 

 

 

 

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What happens now is kids who want to try for semi competitive schools will have to pile up those APs in huge quantities. Before we could chose to do a mixture of AP (when we thought courses were worth taking) and some SAT 2s (for validation). In our personal example, we no longer have an option of taking SAT2 for a foreign language. We don’t want a DE class because they are just tremendous amount of busywork. What is the only remaining option? AP. Makes me want to cry. There are other areas where this is going to directly affect my student. I am not going to play that game and likely pay the price for it. Oh well. 

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1 hour ago, Roadrunner said:

Maybe. 
We are taking AP stats, and both want to cry daily - a textbook that takes 10 pages to explain what can be said in 2. The entire material can be taught in 2-3 months. Instead we are spending a year and untold hours weekly on homework and writing FRQs to learn how to word things to CB’s liking and constantly stating the obvious. Shoot us! The biggest mistake we made. 
 

To the growing list of easy AP classes, I'll add AP CS A.  I had both my dd's take AP CS and AP stats.  My younger dd started AP statistics in March and my older daughter started AP CS in January and both made 5's on both exams.  AP CS A was dumbed down in 2009.

I don't think the loss of SAT subject tests will affect high achieving, wealthier students  who can show achievement with other contests, research, or other activities.  It will affect students applying to less competitive schools with admissions departments that need to distinguish students who have earned their high school diploma from those who have not.  

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2 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

We are taking AP stats, and both want to cry daily - a textbook that takes 10 pages to explain what can be said in 2. The entire material can be taught in 2-3 months. Instead we are spending a year and untold hours weekly on homework and writing FRQs to learn how to word things to CB’s liking and constantly stating the obvious. 

 

2 hours ago, 8filltheheart said:

Ds took AoPS cal and then studied the AP format. (Easy to do for math.)  I know nothing about the stats exam, but the high rote knowledge, low concept approach to ed is why I dislike APs in general.

My teens need the outside nagging so took a 6 week (3.5hrs x 2) summer class and did well enough for AP Statistics exam. It depends on the teacher. Both my teens did AP Macro/Micro economics in the same summer format and they have different teachers but both teachers made their classes fun. Economics if the student understand the concept, there is very little to memorize for the AP exams.

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Agh. This makes our lives so much harder. There is not one school anywhere around us that will allow homeschoolers to write AP exams. The community colleges here will not allow dual enrollment. SAT subject tests were our nice easy solution. Back to the drawing board...

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21 minutes ago, daijobu said:

To the growing list of easy AP classes, I'll add AP CS A. 

 

Foothill doesn’t accept AP CS A for credit but since it counts towards the National AP Scholar award, the admissions did allow my kids to go for three dual enrollment classes per quarter. The score report that I ordered in December from CollegeBoard did not reach them yet but they accepted my kid’s copy.


Dual enrollment is free for high achieving public school students, so family income isn’t a factor.

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29 minutes ago, daijobu said:

To the growing list of easy AP classes, I'll add AP CS A.  I had both my dd's take AP CS and AP stats.  My younger dd started AP statistics in March and my older daughter started AP CS in January and both made 5's on both exams.  AP CS A was dumbed down in 2009.

I don't think the loss of SAT subject tests will affect high achieving, wealthier students  who can show achievement with other contests, research, or other activities.  It will affect students applying to less competitive schools with admissions departments that need to distinguish students who have earned their high school diploma from those who have not.  

😔

 

What do you do with a super bright kid who despises competitions and lives in rural areas with few opportunities?


I don’t know. I think overall more choices are good and fewer choices are bad. Whatever merits of those exams, they were an extra tool in the homeschool toolkit. We just work with fewer ones now. 
 

and oh boy, we were thinking of AP CS A. I am hoping eimacs course is OK. 😞 

I can’t take another failure like stats. 

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