How the advanced placement program is failing studentsRoundup
tags: education, students, college
Annie Abrams teaches and writes in New York.
In August, the College Board announced a new website designed to complement Advanced Placement courses. “AP Classroom” offers standardized year-long curricular sequences, divided into nine units. These sequences create cookie-cutter course structures to prepare students for the paid exams taken to earn college credit.
AP classes will also feature another change this year: students must buy exams in November instead of March, and there’s a new $40 cancellation fee. These combined changes will raise the stakes for students, increasing already intense pressure, and push teachers to turn their courses — purportedly college equivalents — into glorified test prep.
These changes represent a perversion of the program’s original mission of fostering creative and critical thinking. Although the program has laudably emphasized expanding access to AP courses, it must now devise a method for retaining these gains while returning to this original vision of AP classes. Doing so would empower teachers to make classes more meaningful, enlivening and enhancing the benefits of secondary education.
The AP program initially developed out of concern that an overly rigid high school system wasn’t serving students well, particularly the best and brightest (and most privileged) students.
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