The Advance Placement Program has become the leading educational excellence in the secondary schools in the United States. The program offers rough curricula and assessment to high school students. The AP result will be the basis for college courses, if you fail the courses you prefer, you will end up taking the course that don’t require a higher grade. This year alone, almost 2 million students have taken the exam, showing how necessary it is for college hopefuls.
The program started in 1955, its original intent was to provide students the opportunity to take college-level coursework and earn college credit while still in high school. Originally, AP was used almost exclusively for purposes of college credit and placement, as different from admissions.
There is a wide gap between secondary and higher education in the early part of the twentieth century. In two studies supported by the Ford Foundation, educators endorsed that secondary schools and colleges should work together to elude repetition in course work at the high school and college levels. The recommendation aims to motivate students to work at the height of their capabilities and to advance their skills as quickly as possible.
In the 1960s, the College Board activated a long-term pledge to teacher development. There was a good result as secondary school teachers had improved through the program. The number of schools that included AP to their advanced academic offerings had increased between 1970 and 1980. Over the years, the access to AP was expanded by the College Board by introducing Pre-AP Initiatives and AP Vertical Teams to aid students, targeting more the students in mid grade. The preparation for the AP at the moment has been advanced and has been in an utmost importance in most schools. Learning the history of the advance placement programs could make you understand its importance.
Jefferson County Public Schools is constantly on the pattern up-wards in the number of learners enrolled in Advanced Placement Courses and taking the associated examinations. In JCPS, about half of the AP assessments taken obtained ratings that allow learners to earn higher education and learning credit at many higher education and learning institutions, an advantage of the advanced placement course program, but the passing rate dropped this season after several years of benefits.
JCPS authorities say that is likely because the region has targeted on increasing the advanced placement course contribution of learners and now, it’ll need to focus on issues such as instructor planning that support learning within those programs. “Kids cannot do well on the test unless they take the class,” says Pam Royster, the district’s higher education and learning and career ready professional. The number of learners taking AP examinations improved 4.2% last school year from 4,952 this year to 5,160 in 2013. The number of assessments taken (one college student can be registered in several AP programs and take several AP exams) also improved 3.6% from 7,762 the season before to 8,043. But the passing rate reduced by 1.9 percentage points to 47.8% in 2013.
“We’ve definitely got some work to do to make sure we’re covering the content and we’re going deeply enough for kids to be successful on the test,” Royster says. Last school year, JCPS signed up with the state-wide Advance Kentucky effort that helps provide training and resources to instructors and schools to increase the number of AP contribution. That program has been recognized by the state and region as having had a significant effect on AP enhancement. Last year, Valley, Moore and Waggener high schools started participating in the Advance Kentucky. Fern Creek, Southern and Seneca high schools signed up with them this year. The system, says Royster, is a multi-year effort to develop instructors and supports, so it could take time to see its effect.
To the many in the world of education and learning change, the newest AP Report to the Nation released lately by the College Board is cause for party on two fronts. The first accomplishment has to do with value. During the program’s early history in the Sixties, Advanced Placement Courses were generally applied by white students. Even as late as the mid-1990s, 80 percent of AP examinations were taken by whites or Asians. Today, however, approximately a third of learners on the program are non-Asian learners of color. And that number is growing every year.
The second accomplishment has to do with learning and training. By the twenty-first millennium, AP was being assailed by its experts for unable to progress. While college teachers progressively advised learners through closer examinations of topics with an alignment toward critical thinking and hands-on work, the Advanced Placement Courses continue to highlight survey-style coverage and content recall skills. This newest report, however, details a course and examination upgrade that brings Advanced Placement Courses back to normal with “current methods while attending college education.” And according to the College Board, changes in all subject matter will be significant. Both of these improvements are the result of effort, financial dedication (the Department of Education alone has invested one fourth of a billion dollars on its AP Incentive Program), and serious initiatives by everyone concerned to advertise the twin goals of value and quality. The problem, however, is that AP can do very little to actually recognize those goals.
Plan leaders, of course, are conscious of the restricted achievements of their labors, both through the Advanced Placement Courses and through other technically-oriented university enhancement initiatives. Still, they keep favoring centrally-designed changes that can be applied in a top-down way because they get around the unforeseen and time-consuming work of engaging stakeholders, developing university potential, and creating a politically brave plan. Consequently, their initiatives, while well-intended, never deal with the actual problems that impact school quality and academic value. To use a metaphor of Larry Cuban’s, they make storm-tossed wave on the ocean’s surface without distressing the strong current below.