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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The false promise of advanced placement classes, shame on schools putting grades above what's best for students.

I have heard the story below a hundred times if I have heard it once. 

From a reader:

My daughter is an example of a student being eaten by the education machine. She is a good student, in the top 10% of her class...except for math. In math she has ridden the fat part of the curve for her entire school career with a solid B. In their zeal to meet state mandated standards for AP enrollment, the guidance department has quite an effective propaganda spiel in place. The lure of finishing college early, or having the luxury of taking "fun" classes in college because the tedious stuff is done as a high school AP student is dangled in front of the kids. The idea of spending $89 for an AP exam rather than $300+ per credit for a course in college is the carrot on the stick for the parents.

My daughter enrolled in 3 AP classes for her senior year - English, foreign language and statistics. Within a month she was drowning in stats, so much so that she is losing sleep and using more than half of her study time to deal with this one class when she has two other AP classes on her plate. Even with extra help from the teacher before school she will be lucky to get a passing grade for the semester. Trying to get her out of the class has been like asking the guidance director to cut off an arm. Who's purpose are they trying to serve? Shame on me for buying into the propaganda and allowing her to enroll in a class for which she was not qualified. But shame on them for putting the school's report card with the state ahead the best interest of the students


  1. At least her daughter is a good student. I'm an AP teacher at a high school in Duval County. Most of my students have not passed the FCAT. My few students who are above a level 3 are constantly held back by students who can barely complete grade level work. Putting level 1 and 2 students in AP classes is unfair to the students and the teachers.

  2. I would love for you to write about it even anonymously...

  3. This year if you have a Level 1,2,or3 student in an AP class in a DCPS high school, this is against district policy this year. Only Level 4, 5 should be in AP, UNLESS, the parent opted the student into the AP class, in other words, the parent wanted their child to take the AP class even though it was not recommended. If your high school routinely has Level 1 and 2students in AP, then they are not following current district policy. I'm a high school guidance counselor who works at a high school that is following district policy, so I'm not giving second-hand hearsay.

  4. I wish that that was also the policy for AICE and Duel Enrollment. Schools are placing students in those classes just so they can have equal class sizes.