Nearly one third of students at Carver High, a very low-performing New Orleans school, took AP classes last year. Despite extra tutoring, restaurant dinners, a Tulane field trip , a chauffered limo ride to the test and the promise of $300 for a passing score, all failed the AP exam.
“For most of them, just in my opinion, it boosted their morale,” Assistant Principal Toyia Washington said. “They realized they were capable of doing something outside the box, whereas everything is usually inside the box.”
Of 158 students enrolled in AdvanceNOLA‘s AP classes last year at New Orleans high schools, only three passed an AP exam.
Students shouldn’t feel proud to fail, writes Darren at Right on the Left Coast.
A bunch of students took a class for which they were ill-prepared, and failed miserably to achieve even minimal standards in the course. That sounds like the very definition of in the box activities for this assistant principal and her school.
“Passing is not the only or even the primary goal” of AdvanceNOLA’s AP program, reports the Times-Picayne.
AdvanceNOLA students receive extra tutoring and tours of the Tulane University campus. They are treated to Saturday restaurant dinners and are chauffeured to the AP exam in limousines.
Students receive $300 from the program for getting a score of at least 3 out of 5 on an exam — the minimum needed to receive college credit — and teachers also receive $300 for each student who passes.
Do students learn that they can exceed expectations? Not really, writes Darren. They learn that they’ll be praised for failure, “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”
There’s some evidence that students who take AP classes but fail the exam outperform similar students who who take easier classes. But that comes from programs that prepare some students to pass. If nobody’s passing, is it really an AP-level class?
AdvanceNOLA is pulling out of Carver and another low-performing high school.