Scarsdale High School is considering eliminating Advanced Placement Tests. Why? Because to many kids take them (so they are no longer considered advanced) and they are to much work. I say phooey! That is right phooey! I admit it, I took AP courses and absolutely loved them. I also view them as an even handed leveler for all high school students. When an entering college freshman has take AP calculus AB, you know what material was covered and that they are ready to progress to what would be the next class. If they hadn’t taken the test (or a class without a test) how would you know what was taught? But that is one of the complaints.
ÂThe test unfortunately drives what you teach and how you teach,Â said Kelley Hamm, ScarsdaleÂs assistant principal.
Duh. Colleges are not going to look at each school’s syllabus and evaluate how it measures up to the college’s class. Much less taking into account the high school’s grading criteria. The AP test gives impartialial evaluation of a student’s knowledge and abilities.
But a big part of this is snooty claseparationion.
But like a few private schools, Scarsdale is concluding that the A.P. pile-on is helping turn the teenage years into a rat race where learning becomes a calculated means to an end rather than a chance for in-depth investigation, imagination, even some fun to go along with all that amassing of knowledge.
So if you go to a “good” school you will not need to prove yourself the way that the lowly students from mediocre schools do. Come on, that is unreasonable.
Then the question arises, are AP classes good for students? I say yes. Are they harder than standard high school course? Of course, but that is what gets them ready for college. I feel it is a perfect introduction. The premise is that you take a semester college course and take almost a full year to go through the course work and prepare for the test. I finally got a glimpse of what would be expected of me once I graduated high school. AP classes often take kids who are gliding and teaches them how to analyze and communicate great ideas. I admit, I learn how to write much better in my AP US History class than I had in 10 years of English classes.
College Board officials say their tests do not force teachers to ram down information. Trevor Packer, executive director of the College BoardÂs A.P. program, said students need only answer only a quarter of questions right in the multiple-choice section to earn a 5 score, leaving lots of room for inventiveness elsewhere. Much of the test has questions based on documents and demands analysis rather than memorization.
What is the test’s value? College credit. Will all classes be accepted by all colleges as an exemption? No, but a little investigation can tell you that before you take the class. An example, the UC’s wouldn’t count AP Government as a replacement for any class. The CSU system would only give it as credit for a very easy Poli Sci class. So many students didn’t waste their time taking that AP class.
It boils down to this theory that children should just be children. Aren’t we trying to train them to be adults? AP Classes are a great way to do just that.