Opinion

Advanced Placement worth the money

October 12, 2013

The [Sept. 28] article “State Spending More in AP Testing for High-Schoolers, but Failure Rate is Rising” implies supporting the Advanced Placement fees might not be worth the investment. This is not the case, and I urge our legislators to continue supporting this expense.

Hoosier high school students have AP, International Baccalaureate and dual credit college readiness opportunities. The College Board’s AP exams are standardized; students receiving “passing” scores earn college credit in both public and private institutions of higher education across the U.S., and teachers at both novice and expert levels have readily available professional development.

To be authorized as AP, teachers submit their AP curricula to the College Board for audit conducted by higher education faculty. This provides a standardization of college curricula taught at the high school level that makes AP rigorous but supports the needed balance between high school preparation and college-level rigor.

Teachers and students supported in these AP endeavors experience success. Notre Dame’s AP-TIP IN program focuses on AP access and success in math, science and English (MSE) courses. Last year, AP-TIP IN worked with nine public high schools across the state, and the scores in this one year exceeded our expectations: a 66-percent increase in passing scores in MSE AP courses and a 114-percent increase in MS scores.

African-American and Hispanic groups experienced a 119-percent increase in MSE, and a 294-percent increase in MS. Female students experienced a 166-percent increase in MS. Although these nine schools represented less than 3 percent of Indiana public high schools administering AP MSE tests, they accounted for 35 percent of MSE passing score increase.

The accountability model increased the number of students in college-readiness programs.

With the increase in AP takers, it should be expected that passing score rates be lower compared to previous years, as AP is no longer the domain of “high ability” students.

AP scores will continue to improve with programs like AP-TIP IN.

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Karen Morris
Director, AP-TIP IN Program
 

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