How Do You Feel About AP Classes?

There were no Advanced Placement (AP) classes available at my tiny high school way back when, so I can’t speak to this subject from experience. But from what has begun to pop up more often in opinions coming from high school administrators, students might get a better education if the AP option was removed from consideration.

A recent article in The Washington Post caught my attention because of the school leaders who made the joint announcement to remove AP credit from their curriculum by 2022. They are administrators at eight elite, private high schools in the Washington DC area.  Even then, the article may not have caught my attention except that one of the best high schools in HISD just announced that the IB courses in their curriculum would get a bump in grade point weight in the coming year. These actions may sound so-so to the casual observer but the ramifications for future graduates from these programs could be significant.

Is this just another hammer chipping away at high stakes testing or are high school administrators truly concerned that students bypass courses that feed their passion in order to take an AP course that will feed their GPA. It’s difficult to say. Way back in the 1970’s there was a scandal at my tiny high school when the administration changed the way that the GPA was calculated. The change resulted in a Black girl losing out on becoming valedictorian that year because it elevated the White son of a school board member fractions of a point ahead of her. I was only a freshman that year but even I could see how shady that deal was. Anyway, I support just about any change that will begin to insert sanity back into the arms (grades and scores) race that is college admissions.

Were I to ask what grading scale was in use at your local high school and what levels of coursework were offered, could you tell me? If you have a kid in high school, I hope so. If you don’t know, find out. You may need a lesson in the differences between IB, AP, DC, H, K and L levels of coursework. It could make a difference in not only what courses are taken, but when and at what level. Knowledge truly is power, and it can save families with college-bound kids a lot of money. Who knows, AP courses may not be the best option available for your particular plans.

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