Some elite private schools are dropping AP courses, reports the LA Times. Instead of AP’s survey courses, the schools offer in-depth classes in selected areas.
In a Jan. 11 column, Jay Mathews of the Washington Post gives a forum to Luther Spoehr, a former U.S. history AP teacher turned Brown lecturer, on the usefulness of AP classes. Spoehr writes that students benefit from a survey history class. He adds:
College professors who denigrate AP sometimes cite as proof the growing number of elite prep schools that no longer offer AP courses. But such schools are playing their own marketing and branding games. Back when AP was restricted to a self-chosen few, it was to the independent schools’ advantage to set themselves apart and offer AP. Now that more than half the high schools in the country offer AP, they’re doing it again, implying that “We’re too good for AP.”
That’s nonsense. They’re indulging teachers who don’t want to (or can’t) teach a survey course and flattering their “customers” that they’re getting a superior “product.” College faculty who end up teaching their graduates will be getting a very mixed bag of students: well prepared in a few areas, woefully unprepared in many others. The already-minuscule amount of core knowledge that college faculty can assume their students bring to the classroom will shrink still further.
Jon Reider, a former Stanford admissions director turned private school counselor, likes AP courses in some subjects but not in others.