AP Classes Go Online

Despite strict budget cuts, interest in Advanced Placement (AP) classes at high schools has skyrocketed, and students are now taking AP classes online, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.

Online classes and digital classrooms have been gaining popularity for quite some time. But, digitizing AP programs is a fairly recent trend.

The AP program has been booming lately, as students look to get a head start on college classes and credit. Taking an AP class can also improve a student’s chances of getting into a better college and can cut tuition expenses. About 90% of colleges give high school students college credit for passing AP tests.

Some students can actually shave an entire year off college with lots of AP credit, saving a full year’s worth of tuition and other expenses.

AP exam taking has increased 159% since 2000, as a record-breaking 1.99 million students plan to take AP exams next fall.

Schools always encourage students to take AP tests and are happy to see more interest, but offering more AP courses is getting very expensive, especially as schools are forced to lay off teachers.

Some schools even cover the $87 charge, but that is getting increasingly more difficult with budget cuts and more student interest.

So, schools took the AP classes online. It’s more ubiquitous, accommodating pretty much any interested student, and it’s much cheaper. Students simply log on to a program and email, call or instant message teachers with questions.

Students can watch lectures, read materials, complete exercises and quizzes and file assignments or exams all online. Students can also collaborate with others to complete online projects.

The College Board, which oversees the AP program, said there are no significant differences in test scores between students who take AP classes online and those who take them in traditional settings. However, online AP classes are still too recent to measure significant results.

Right now, only 0.5% of AP courses are taken online, but they are becoming more popular. Courses are now available through online schools in 27 states, and 32 states have online, AP programs already set up.

Students can also enroll in online AP programs through private companies – such as: Advanced Academics, Oklahoma City, which charges $425 for a one-semester AP class. Apex Learning, Seattle; Aventa Learning and its parent company K12 Inc., Herndon, Va.; or the Florida Virtual School, Orlando, Fla., also offer online AP courses.