Thursday, July 1, 2010

Misunderstanding Advanced Placement

In another ill-thought and under-researched move the IDOE is pushing for higher numbers in AP classes.  A little history might be helpful here: AP classes were designed for the top 2 percent of students, those capable of taking a college-level class.  With the push for more classes and higher enrollment, the state (and others as well) are pushing folks to water down the curriculum and its showing in passing rates (i.e. they're going down). All of these pushes for AP, early college, and dual credit actually have absymal performance rates and show the pathology of looking for easy fixes and cheap answers.  Ultimately it hurts kids....what's wrong with a high school kid doing high school work??

AP quota spells trouble for ill-prepared students

Posted: July 1, 2010
I have read with interest opinions about Advanced Placement classes in Indiana high schools, . As an experienced AP teacher in Indianapolis Public Schools, I can offer insight into this discussion, which is based on Indiana Department of Education's assertion that one-quarter of all high school students should pass at least one AP exam. Unfortunately, that is forcing schools to water down the curriculums to accommodate the lowest functioning children, and the result is ever-lower passing rates on the national exams.

I had one student enrolled in my AP class who could barely read and write. When I told the principal that he needed to be removed, she dismissed my suggestion, claiming he was just being lazy. He failed the class, which doubled as his senior English class, postponing his graduation. Unfortunately, this young man was not the only one in that predicament. To appease their higher-ups, administrators and superintendents are pushing more and more unprepared students into these college-level courses and then are surprised when they fail the exam or even the course.

For students to be successful in AP courses, they must begin preparation in middle, or even elementary, school. That is where bright children should be encouraged to enroll in accelerated or honors classes. Sticking low-performing or unmotivated students into AP classes to fulfill someone's quota is a travesty.

An Indiana AP Teacher


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