One private school in New York City admitted only 2.4 percent of
children from families with no previous connection to Kindergarten


“I’m no fan of standardized tests”

I’m no fan of standardized tests, particularly when they drive curriculum.  I also agree that large and stagnant testing agencies develop self-interest in perpetuating the status quo which often is not in the best interests of students.  But fraudulent?  That’s a bit extreme.

In most cases standardized tests are developed to ensure accountability, and to raise the bar.  Often they improve access to educational resources for those who would otherwise be deprived of them.  Even if AP courses don’t match actual college level courses (and my guess is that whether or not they do depends on the college) they likely set a higher standard for  high school. And those who benefit most are the students who don’t actually attend college.

Addressing a few of the author’s objections:

1) AP classes often no longer substitute for college classes.  In my experience, sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.  But even if they don’t qualify students to receive college credit in all cases, are they still useful?

2) The number of students taking the courses is growing by leaps and bounds and now includes students who are not college- ready.  To me this is a great advantage.  This trend may not benefit kids who are tutored to get high scores on AP exams, have access to high quality education in high school with or without these courses, and will be able to attend four years of college.  Allowing less “qualified” students to enroll in AP classes gives these students access to new opportunities that may really make a difference to them.  The chance to become engaged and work hard may change their lives.  The target population may have changed, but I can’t find fault with AP courses and exams if they increase access to educational opportunity.

3) AP courses lead to rigid stultification leaving little time for teachers and students to explore offshoots of the curriculum which may be more valuable than the prescribed course content.  On this point, I agree.  In fact, the majority of educators today agree that subject specific AP classes may not be the best approach to imparting long-lasting knowledge and that interdisciplinary classes may be more effective in teaching kids critical thinking and problem-solving skills. But AP courses are not evil; while the College Board may be slow to change, I don’t suspect malice.  The AP may be past its prime but I believe that it provided more good than harm over the last generation of education.

By: School Search Solutions
Date: 10.18.12 | Category: Favorite Posts