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Thursday, August 22, 2013

1.3 million students fail Advanced Placement Classes! The whole system is all messed up.

I know what some of you are thinking, why is my class half empty? Why not talk about all the kids that took and passed A.P. classes instead, well friends read further and you may understand and here is a hint, it has something to do with kids leaving their intensive reading class to head to their A.P. literature class.
From State Impact: Students failed nearly 1.3 million Advanced Placement exams last year, according to an analysis by Politico. And the overall passage rate for the exams has declined since 2002.
In addition, The College Board, the nonprofit which administers the Advanced Placement exams, said research no longer supports the idea that students benefit just by taking the more difficult classes. Instead, research now shows students only benefit if they earn a passing score of 3 or higher on the exam.
Florida is among the states pushing more students to take accelerated coursework such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate. The state grading formula for high schools gives credit for the percentage of students taking an AP or other accelerated course.
The trend challenges a widespread philosophy that students exposed to higher standards will find a way to meet them. Graded in part by college professors, AP exams provide a fairly objective measure of performance — and the results suggest that when the bar is raised too high, a good number of students trip.
“Well-meaning policy makers encourage Advanced Placement in order to set high expectations,” said Kristin Klopfenstein, an education professor who has studied AP trends and now runs the Education Innovation Institute at the University of Northern Colorado. “But their eagerness for expansion has gotten ahead of the support systems in place for these kids.”
When I was in school you had to get permission to take Advanced Placement classes and now students are forced into classes they aren’t ready for which also hurts the kids who are in those classes legitimately. AP teachers for years have complained about this but since schools get bonus points for kids just taking the classes, not passing them or the tests mind you, their cries fell upon deaf ears.
We can’t continue to put kids in situations where success is elusive and then wonder why they don’t succeed. Here it is the adults failing the kids.


  1. It's funny (if you ignore the consequences to real children) how the state grading formula games AP enrollment. Yes, High Schools get credit for enrolling more kids in AP classes, but lose credit when they can't pass. Both the percent TAKING and the percent PASSING work into the grade. How can a school maximize its points?

    WHICH IS EXACTLY THE WRONG QUESTION TO ASK! Yes, I meant to shout. We ought to focus on what's best for the student. We have the same problem in Middle School with pushing kids into algebra before they are ready.

  2. 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.

  3. I so agree with above anonymous. My son who is a senior has been a good student with high honors every semester. He is now in a AP Calculus class where he probably does not belong as he has never taken an AP class before. Unfortunately the school pushes smart but not brilliant kids into this senior yr as there are no regular Calculus classes for them to take. He took pre-calc w/ trig already last year.

    We know it is getting to him (and us quite frankly). It is ridiculous that such an emphasis is put on this. He has been accepted to a college he is interested in and now I am hearing that one bad grade could hurt that acceptance.

    I am sick about this as he is so much more then this one class.

  4. I read about good students not being able to keep up with AP class. My question is why would the guidance councilor allow a straight "D" student to enroll in 3 AP classes he is unable to drop in their senior year? These AP classes will keep him from earning his diploma. WHAT ARE THEY DOING?