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More students are taking AP exams, but researchers don’t know if that helps them

Chalk Beat – Amanda Zhou

“Let’s start with the good news: Over the last two decades, a rapidly increasing number of students have taken and passed Advancement Placement exams, which are often seen as helpful preparation for college. But here’s the bad news: Many more students are also taking those courses but failing the exams. The majority of black and Hispanic test-takers don’t score a 3 or higher, which is usually needed to earn college credit. So has the rapid expansion of AP been a net good for students and schools?” (more)

Seven things research reveals — and doesn’t — about Advanced Placement

The Washington Post – Valerie Strauss

“The Advanced Placement program is engaged in a tenuous balancing act. The program aims to serve more students from marginalized backgrounds whose schooling experiences have exposed them to few rigorous learning opportunities. At the same time, it seeks to engage students in challenging, college-level curricula, thereby enhancing their likelihood of postsecondary success.” (more)

Rejecting AP Courses

Inside Higher Ed – Scott Jaschik

“Eight elite private high schools in the Washington area this morning announced that they are dropping out of the Advanced Placement program. In a joint statement, they said that they were responding to “the diminished utility of AP courses and the desirability of developing our own advanced courses that more effectively address our students’ needs and interests. Collectively, we believe a curriculum oriented toward collaborative, experiential, and interdisciplinary learning will not only better prepare our students for college and their professional futures, but also result in more engaging programs for both students and faculty.” (more)

Expansion of AP computer science draws more girls and minorities

The Seattle Times – Nick Anderson

“Ten years ago, girls were so scarce in high school computer science classes that the number of female students taking Advanced Placement tests in that subject could be counted on one hand in nine states. In five others, there were none. Latino and African-American students were also in short supply, a problem that has bedeviled educators for years and hindered efforts to diversify the high-tech workforce.” (more)

Ask 4 Questions to Choose an AP Physics Class

The U.S. News and World Report – Brian Witte

“Students considering an Advanced Placement course in physics have four options to choose from: AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2, AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism and AP Physics C: Mechanics. Each end-of-year exam – and potential college credit – corresponds to an AP class, but students may not know how to select the appropriate course and test. AP Physics 1, which is algebra-based, covers Newtonian mechanics, as well as the basics of circuits and mechanical waves. AP Physics 2, which is also algebra-based, continues with electricity and magnetism, fluids, optics and thermodynamics. Both classes and exams emphasize logic and reasoning with an overall goal of students understanding the core concepts of physics, although doing well requires basic algebra.”(more)

Build on AP, IB Exams to Prepare for College

The U.S. News and World Report – Sonya Ellis

“If you sat for an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam this year, you have achieved an important milestone in your academic career. You may now be ready to take the summer off before college. But before you do, it is important to consider whether you are truly ready for college – and all that takes is a bit of self-reflection. AP and IB exams simulate the skills and content of entry-level university courses. Beyond the desire to earn a good score on these tests, you should be sure that you have fully mastered their challenges. A full college workload can be intimidating. As such, it is valuable to spend the summer before freshman year focusing on improving areas where your AP or IB performance may have slipped. Review your exams in these four subject areas.”(more)