Ordinary students willing to work hard can succeed in Advanced Placement classes, many educators now believe. Principals are encouraging more students to tackle the collegel-level classes, reports Education Week.
The College Board, which sponsors the AP courses, has itself been trying to recast the program as being within reach of any student willing to do the work, regardless of academic standing. The new direction has drawn praise from many observers, who say the trend could challenge students to stretch their academic pursuits and bridge the academic gap between lower-achieving black and Hispanic students — who traditionally have been underrepresented in the program — and their white and Asian-American classmates.
But the shift in thinking has also raised concerns that more students will struggle to meet the standards and fail, and that ultimately, the quality of the program will be watered down to prevent that from happening.
The key is the AP exam, which determines whether students qualify for college credit. As long as students are working to pass a challenging exam — one not written or graded by their own teacher — the program will maintain its standards.