Tuesday, November 2, 2010

AP Economics

I'll never think about AP the same way again. I thought they made our students more competitive and maybe might allow them to move beyond some 101 courses freshman year. Thanks to a story in the St. Petersburg Times, naive me is now better informed.

In Florida, which ranks No. 1 in the country in the number of students taking the tests, school districts pick up the tab which can go as high as $86 for each AP test taken. Families are thrilled because they save testing fees and then, it's estimated they will save over $40 million in fees and tuition this year thanks to courses skipped.

But somehow, when seemingly everyone is taking an AP course, how can they make a student more competitive? This fall, most incoming freshmen at Florida State University were able to exempt a semester. University of Florida freshmen had enough credits to exempt two semesters.

The issue of placing so much weight on AP tests -- and paying for them -- has led to an inevitable result: as participation rates have risen, passage rates have gone down. And Florida is wondering if this is such a good deal for the state.

And I am wondering whether AP courses are losing their glow if taking them is the norm rather than the exception. Not that I want our teen to forgo them...

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