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The Education Issue
October 07, 2012
At most high schools you probably learn more and are placed with the most serious students if you take the AP course. There's nothing wrong with taking a challenging course load (which probably doesn't matter at a place like Lexington, but in a less stellar school district, it's majorly important). But I don't really understand the tests and "placing out" of courses in college. At a top college, even if they let place out, you're going to learn more in an intro level class than even the best AP classes, so why miss out on that information? In college, you take a class because you want to learn that material, you're not just trying to get out of stuff. In some college departments, the classes aren't structured linearly. If you get a 5 in AP English, what do you do with that in college? Some schools are based on credit-hours, so you might get a credit equivalent for an AP class, but how many schools actually allow that? I remember how difficult it was at my college to even transfer credits or prerequisites from another university, let alone a high school. And if you don't use AP credit as a transfer type thing, just using it to "place out" of certain requirements would only really matter for your major where you're taking progressively more difficult classes in the same subject. 20 years ago AP was just starting at my high school, and I don't regret taking the most challenging classes I could. But I don't know why I spent the time and money to take the tests. I got a 5 in history, didn't take a single history class in college, and even if I did there would have been nothing I could do with that AP score.
I "transferred" 20-some AP credits to college 5 years ago and it was a totally hands-off, painless procedure. It saves money and time. For the price of an AP exam I got credit for two semesters of calculus -- and I think I learned more by being in a class of 30 other smart students for 90 minutes a day, 5 days a week for the entire school year, than I would have by going to a 50 minute lecture with 200 other students on a college campus, likely with some professor or grad student just going through the motions.
Yes, ideally in college "you take a class because you want to learn that material" -- but in reality you take a lot of classes because you have to meet all the arbitrary credit requirements. Like you I took the US History exam, but then I transferred the credit to college and filled the rest of my humanities requirements with classes I was genuinely interested in. College tuition is simply so out of control today that if a student can get college credit for a fraction of the cost via an AP exam, I don't know how anyone could argue they shouldn't.
(Sorry, not that you were saying they shouldn't, I only meant to say I think it's a pretty good deal, and I think if you get a 5 on an AP exam and your school lets you transfer that, it's probably best to do that and move on.)
What a negative, slanted article.
What is your agenda here?
Some of these administrators are advocating dumbling downb our best students.
Micromanaging, like saying no homework the first week, is poor administration.
Here's one example of an inflammatory, skewed sentence.
"Just about the only signs that she’s still in high school are band and gym."She's in a high school building, taking high school classes. Those are not college classes. That's a whole different program.
She has a locker, may ride a bus, is in school clubs.
Who are you to make judgments?
"Overachievers" or "Schools serving the best interests of their students?How in the world do you do this article with no mention of/interview with Jay Mathews?
I've got kids, with lots of friends in one of these schools. You've never seen such a well adjusted group of kids, happy, getting great grades, participating in charities, sports, jobs.