Fearing that some classes with the Advanced Placement label aren’t really advanced, College Board plans to check syllabi, sample assignments and sample exams. AP classes are supposed to reflect college-level work and look good on a high school transcript.
“Administrators are under pressure to create advanced-type classes. Parents want them. Policy-makers want them. If I’m being told to teach Advance Placement, I can put AP in front of any course name,” said Jim Ballard, executive director of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals. “Of course, it’s more than simply adding the name, and that’s where the College Board is crying foul.”
Fewer than 40 percent of AP students take the AP exam in the spring; of those who take the test, only about half earn a high enough score to qualify for college credit. Eduguestwonk suggests requiring all AP students to take the exam. (That was the rule for at least one of my daughter’s AP classes.)
It’s no shame to fail: for kids, they learn what college rigor is really like; for schools, teachers work together using the AP data to make adjustments on how to improve their classes.
And then schools with repeatedly low test-taking rates and low scores could be audited by College Board.
The exam is expensive, but there are fee waivers for low-income students — and the chance to save a bundle on college tuition by earning credits in high school.