AP Program Grows

            The Advance Placement program is increasing in high schools throughout the nation, bringing more opportunities to students, according to The New York Times.

            The A.P. program was originally created to allow top students to take college-level classes and earn college credit. Most high schools offer A.P. classes in a variety of different subjects. A.P. students take the A.P. exam, and they can earn college credit at most institutions with a passing score of 3, 4, or 5. The exam is scored 1-5, with 5 as the highest possible score. The higher one scores, the more credit he/she can earn.

            The A.P. expansion is allowing more students to take A.P. exams, and it’s allowing more students into A.P. classes. Of last year’s high school graduating class, 26.5% of students had taken at least one A.P. exam, almost twice as many as 2001.

            Opponents of the A.P. expansion argue that more students are failing the exam with a score of 1 or 2 and not earning college credit. 43% of high school students who took an A.P. exam last year failed, and 39% failed in 2001.

            Yet, proponents argue that there are more students who are passing the test and receiving college credit. A lot of these students would not have had the opportunity to take an A.P. test prior to its expansion. Also, some educators believe that simply taking more challenging, college-level classes better prepares high school students for college, even if a student failed an A.P. exam. Students get unique insights into what college course work truly is. They are exposed to the critical thinking and application skills that college curriculums demand.

            The College Board reported that students who took an A.P. class – but failed the exam – were more likely to receive a college degree in four years, than students who did not take an A.P. class.

            High schools adopt the A.P. program to further challenge students. The program has many benefits and students should enroll in it if at all possible.  

            Currently, there are 10 A.P. courses that high schools can offer, which has increased from seven five years ago.