Cracking the AP myth

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Cracking the AP myth
Tue, 11-08-2011 - 11:05pm

There is a recent book with a 2011 copyright by Dr. Steve Perry titled PUSH HAS COME TO SHOVE, getting our kids the education they deserve (Even if it means picking a fight)


Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
Wed, 11-09-2011 - 2:14am

While I'm not a fan of what AP has turned into and while DD is planning on attending our "middle college program" (which allows select 11th and 12th graders to take many of their courses at the community college for both high school and college credit under the public school umbrella-- thus free) I'm really not interested in DD shortening her university experience too much. As it is, if she does the traditional 4 years she'll be barely 21 when she graduates. If she finished in 1 year, she'd only be a young 18. Plus, she is heading in with a very specific and competitive major. Shortening her university experience would rob her of valuable opportunities and experiences that her competition WILL have. Taking her major courses at the community colleges wouldn't transfer and aren't nearly the same quality as the university.

It's worth noting that not all community colleges are created equal. Some really don't offer courses as challenging as a high school AP class. We're fortunate to live in a state with a very strong community college system but even then, you have to be selective in your course choices. For example, you wouldn't want to take a high school level math course at the community college because the quality of peers in that class wouldn't be as high as say, a high school honors math course.

There are also lots of issues with community college credits. You have to have a strong idea where you will transfer and you have to be careful to choose classes they will accept. This can be pretty easy with state colleges but if your child is looking into a private or out-of state public university, you could have issues.

I do feel high schoolers can benefit from college level courses. I took a couple courses at a university in high school and loved them. My eldest would benefit because she's an accelerated learner in general. I'm just not a fan of racing kids into the work force which is pretty much what you are doing when you cut their 4-year university experience down to a year.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Wed, 11-09-2011 - 3:17am

I agree with Turtletime, especially <<>>

And even if you are racing them into post-grad school instead of a job, I fear that there will be intangible things they have NOT learned, which only come from exposure to college life, and maturity.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2005
Wed, 11-09-2011 - 10:18am

I think that there is a fine mix. Our school district has a campus where students can simultaneously earn college credit. However, most gifted/high-achieving students don't actually choose this. The classes are very introductory, and not as challenging as the AP classes. Many of the high-achieving students end up testing out of these classes at college anyway, via a mix of placement tests, ACT/SAT or other. I am amazed, to be honest, that your kids were able to graduate in one year with a BS. Most colleges require 60 credit hours to be done at the home campus, so that is a LOT to be done in one year. For both of my daughters (one BA, one BS) there were at least two years worth of very specific course work that was not offered at high school/community colleges. It was also impossible to graduate with honors without doing much of the coursework at the college (especially departmental honors, which requires an entire year of projects at my dd19's college, and must be applied for in advance after having completed

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2001
Wed, 11-09-2011 - 10:45am

I too am not a fan of students racing through education.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 11-09-2011 - 11:25am

My son (10th grade) is taking AP history (a 2 yr class).

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2000
Wed, 11-09-2011 - 11:45am

I'll have to agree with the others that I'm not a fan of rushing kids through school, be it the child prodigy that graduates high school at age 13 or the kid that has enough college credit hours to graduate from college at age 18 or 19. As others have mentioned - there is SO much more to college than sitting in a lecture hall and taking notes. I think kids need a chance to learn to work/learn with all types of people and be on their own a bit before working for the rest of their lives. There are 2 very young people in Jason's first year med school class - one is 19 and one just turned 21 a week ago. The 21yo was homeschooled all through then I believe graduated college in 3 years. Jason said he's nice and obviously intelligent. But he said he's so sheltered/immature - just doesn't have the maturity and life experiences that most of the students do at ages 23-25. Heck - even his landlord, who only rents to med students, commented on how much she enjoys watching these 22-23 year old people come in as kids and leave 4 years later as adults.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Wed, 11-09-2011 - 12:53pm

I'm not a big fan of rushing kids through college either.

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Wed, 11-09-2011 - 1:44pm
I partly agree with the others about letting them have their time in college before entering the workforce, but I also think it depends on the quality of education they get getting the college credit while in h/s. I am in Texas also and while we are in a very good school district, we looked into doing the dual-enrollment or community college courses as opposed to taking AP classes. ODD opted to take AP courses this year and it has been extremely stressful, but so far she has already gotten 3 college credits for the 3 she got on the AP World History exam as well as skipping out of intro level history. So with that in mind, what is the difference between taking the AP test and getting the credits or taking the college course and then having to tranfer it, which possibly may not transfer, especially if they opt to go out of state? Our district students also ran into the situation this year where the decided at a local level not to let juniors have an open class period, which some would use as study periods, but a lot of them would use as the 1st or last period of the day to leave early to go attend to their college class, not doing so led some of them to have to take an entire load of high school courses as well as any college course they were taking in the evening, adding to their workload and stress levels, (or possibly having to take a blow off class or one they didn't really want to, but needed to fill their time with), which seemed to defeat part of the purpose.

And I am also curious, I was also always under the understanding that you had to do about 60 hours of "on campus" credits at that particular school to get the degree there. I know most h/s do their dual enrollment or their college classes in affiliation with a community college, not a 4 year university.
Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Wed, 11-09-2011 - 2:02pm

I can definitely see situations where this would be a good idea.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Wed, 11-09-2011 - 2:41pm

I don't think AP classes are always about getting college credit. Sometimes, they're the most challenging classes available and that's why kids choose to take them. Most of the kids I know who did well in their AP exams didn't get college credit, especially at the liberal arts colleges and Ivies. What they did get was advanced placement (getting out of the core English class, for example and moving a higher level class), but they will still take 4 years to graduate.

My daughter is a junior in HS and thinks she wants to apply primarily to LACs in the Northeast. I don't think it has even crossed her mind to expect any credit for the APs she is taking. She's just doing it so she isn't bored.

The skeptical part of me thinks the whole AP system is really a money-making racket on the part of the College Board, but that doesn't mean there aren't any benefits to it.