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More Shame for the College Board « Diane Ravitch's blog

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According to the College Board 2011 AP report, the number of students who took the AP exam more than doubled in a decade: 431,573 in 2001 to 903,630 in 2011. And an Associate Press story May 2012 says “2 million students will take 3.7 million end-of-year AP exams.” The fee for each AP Exam in 2012 is $87 and that is $321.9 million total.

For low-income students, the Feds provide $53 per exam, meaning we, the taxpayers are paying for students to take the AP exam. 612,282 out of the 903,630 in 2011 were taken by low-income graduates paid by the taxpayers. Not a problem for me, if it truly helps the students. But it is not. It is just one more way to demoralize the struggling poor students. From the Associated Press story:

Nationally, 56 percent of AP exams taken by the high school class of 2011 earned a 3 or higher, but there are wide disparities. The mean score is 3.01 for white students and 1.94 for blacks. In New Hampshire, almost three-quarters of exams earn a 3 or higher; in Mississippi, it's under a third. In the District of Columbia, more than half of exams score a 1.

More importantly, plenty of evidence showing that the AP does not really benefit. “AP courses provide little or no additional post-secondary benefit,” writes economist Kristin Klopfenstein and her colleagues and “Even a score of 5 on an A.P. test is no guarantee of a college grade of A in the same subject,” said Harvard’s Philip M. Sadler, who directs the science education department at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center of Astrophysics.


But hey, free college credit if you get 4 or 5, right? Right?

Is that why so many people try to take the test and get a 1 or 2?

The temptation of free college credit?

That and and the pressure to "have it all."

I took a years worth of credit to college from APs/CLEP -- believe it or not, I know many with much, much more; some who collect as many as 60 college credits.

I suspect that many of those schools are using the AP as another standard, so that no child of theirs is left behind and they can score more federal and state funding. Classes taught around the AP test rather than around the material/learning itself. Even public money rewards schools with numbers that go "up and to the right," e.g. traction.

So the lesson is not to let others use our greed against us.

We can do anything but we cannot do everything.

The more we try to do, the more being spread thin can hurt us.

It's better to do a few things well.

This just goes to show how poor our current education tracks are. The best (highest level and usually the stronger teachers teach it) classes in a free, public school is a paid for class? One of too many problems with the education in America.

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