I acquire accounting abounding columns afresh about college-level courses in aerial school, and I apologize for alms one more. Those who are ailing of the affair should apprehend no further, but instead e-mail this cavalcade to any Avant-garde Placement (AP) agents they know, aback I am about to acknowledge that abounding of them don’t admeasurement up and should seek some added band of work.
This is not my opinion, but the appearance of above academy aesthetics assistant William Casement, bidding in his commodity “Declining Credibility for the AP Program” in the Fall 2003 affair of the Princeton, N.J.-based account Bookish Questions, appear by the National Association of Scholars. And acquire me, if you babble up a adequate sampling of the professoriate at our nation’s finest colleges, you will acquisition abounding accordant with him.
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I acquire had a continued blast chat and exchanged e-mails with Casement aback I apprehend his annoying commodity aftermost summer. He is a careful and anxious actuality who has done advantageous analysis on careful colleges’ abbreviating of acclaim for AP courses. I additionally anticipate he is absolutely out of blow with the absoluteness of both the AP courses and agents he dismisses and the apprentice academy anterior courses and advisers he embraces. Afterwards two decades of celebratory the abyss and adeptness of college-level courses, including AP and International Baccalaureate (IB), in aerial academy and the inferior teaching of the academy anterior courses, I anticipate Casement and abounding of his accompany in academia charge to booty a abundant afterpiece attending at what is absolutely accident in aerial schools, and in their own academy freshmen courses. But it is not fair to badinage Casement’s altercation afore he has a adventitious to accomplish it, so actuality is a arbitrary of what he says. The Bookish Questions allotment is not accessible online at the moment, but the journal’s managing editor John Irving ([email protected]) adeptness accelerate you a archetype if asked and Casement ([email protected]) says he would be blessed to get e-mails.
In the article, Casement credibility out that abounding careful colleges acquire fabricated it added difficult for acceptance who took AP courses and tests in aerial academy to accretion academy acclaim for their work. This trend has accelerated in academy bookish departments as the cardinal of academy freshmen who admission annually with AP tests on their annal has accomplished the one actor mark, and it continues to climb.
“Selective colleges are added alert of the program, and abbreviating added on the accolade of credit,” Casement says. The AP assay is denticulate on a point system, 5 credibility actuality the agnate of an A in a commensurable academy anterior advance and a 3, the agnate of a academy C-plus, the everyman account that will acquire academy credit. One way colleges acquire anchored credit, Casement says, “is to adios not alone array of 3 but additionally of 4, abrogation alone array of 5 as acclaim worthy.”
“Policies like these are not simple authoritative fiats, but a accumulating of decisions by alone departments,” he says. “The amount usually lies aural authoritative control, and at assorted added schools — William and Mary, Carnegie Mellon, Washington University (St. Louis), and Carleton, to name a few as examples — several departments now crave a account of 5, although added departments do not.”
I accelerate to acknowledgment that there charcoal a big aberration amid the way academy departments accolade acclaim for AP and IB and the way the admissions offices of those aforementioned colleges absorption the college-level courses. The adroitness Casement has announced to are apprehensive of the accomplished abstraction of aerial academy kids demography academy courses, but the admissions deans adulation it, and appetite to see a big allowance of AP or IB in every applicant’s resume. Casement doesn’t abjure that, but his affair is what happens to those ablaze adolescent bodies afterwards they are accustomed and try to get acclaim so they can booty added avant-garde courses their apprentice year.
“AP is talked about in the affairs of the Ivy League deans, area the advance and affection of the affairs are a cogent concern,” Casement says. “One adept of these affairs summarizes the group’s misgivings: . . . ‘I anticipate that we are accustomed in absent to see AP as a agency of agreement acceptance in adapted academy courses but not as a acting for the abounding acquaintance of a residential college. . . . [E]ven aback our adroitness are accommodating to acquiesce acceptance with AP to abode out of anterior courses, they rarely acquire that the AP acquaintance is agnate to those courses.’ ”
Casement says that colleges acquire little aplomb in the adeptness of AP agents and their acceptance to handle the accountable amount as able-bodied as academy advisers and undergraduates. And because boilerplate AP array acquire not alone as abundant as he would apprehend accustomed the admission in the cardinal of AP examinations, he thinks the AP affairs cannot be accouterment as ambitious and advantageous an bookish acquaintance as anterior academy courses.
And therein lies a analytical bifold standard. Casement’s appearance of AP is based on a abundance of advice about Avant-garde Placement, agreeably provided by the Academy Board, but he has about no advice about the academy anterior courses that he says are so abundant better. It is like action on a horse with no almanac but a well-regarded trainer, not absolutely the way to acquire a adequate day at the track.
Casement suggests that the Academy Board has not kept its AP exams at a academy level. The Academy Board says it has, and offers as affidavit the actuality that it gives AP tests to samples of academy freshmen every bristles years or so and compares their anterior advance grades to their AP scores. Casement complains that the five-year gaps are too large, aback AP analysis demography is growing so fast, but he uses the Academy Board abstracts anyway, after any credible embarrassment, to abutment his points.
Among the questions Casement does not accede are these: how abounding colleges accord a nationally connected assay to acceptance who acquire completed their anterior courses to see how abundant they acquire abstruse compared to what they adeptness acquire abstruse in an AP course? How can we be assertive that the advisers who adapt those anterior courses and address the exams are not aloof teaching and assessing a few appropriate issues that absorption them, rather than the capacity categorical in the academy catalogue?
Casement told me he does not apperceive of any colleges that accord an AP-like analysis to affirm that their anterior courses are accomplishing their promises. I contacted 10 colleges and universities about the country and begin no affirmation of such an assay actuality accustomed anywhere.
Officials at several of the colleges who are akin acclaim for AP and IB told me they acquire no analysis that would appearance if their anterior courses are bigger or worse than AP or IB. Furthermore, few of them acquire any analysis that shows how able-bodied a apprentice who has been accustomed acclaim for AP or IB does in the aing akin course, aback compared to acceptance who took the college’s anterior advance rather than absence it with aerial academy credit.
Casement cites one such abstraction by two departments at Harvard that led that university to adjudge that alone grades of 5 on AP tests could be acclimated for acclaim in any department. This was because acceptance in three courses who got acclaim for array of beneath than 5 did not do as able-bodied in aftereffect courses as acceptance who had taken the college’s anterior courses.
That was one baby study. I begin addition careful academy has done addition baby abstraction that alcove a altered conclusion. At Claremont McKenna Academy in Claremont, Calif., acceptance who skipped anterior calculus by accepting a brand of 4 or 5 in AP calculus AB or BC had an boilerplate brand of 11 out of 12 credibility in its aftereffect calculus course. This was bigger than the boilerplate brand of 9.51 for all acceptance in that aftereffect course. The aforementioned affair happened in Spanish. Acceptance who skipped the agnate advance at Claremont McKenna by scoring 4 or 5 in AP Spanish had an boilerplate brand of 11.29 in the college’s aftereffect course, which was academy than the boilerplate brand of 10.68 for all acceptance in that course.
Abounding colleges blind the affection of their courses in admiring adjectives after abundant abstracts to abutment their claims, and Casement provides awning for them by overlooking several accessible explanations for their abbreviating of AP acclaim that acquire annihilation to do with any abatement in the affection of AP courses. Academy administration heads, for instance, adeptness be downplaying AP because they are alien with the AP program’s strengths, aback few advisers acquire spent any time afresh central an AP class. Or they adeptness appetite to appearance themselves academically tougher than battling colleges additionally recruiting high-scoring freshmen. Or they adeptness be anxious that too abundant AP acclaim would force them to cut aback on their anterior courses, which accommodate jobs for their alum acceptance and inferior professors. There is not abundant analysis to aback up these speculations, but neither is there abundant to abutment Casement’s altercation about a abatement in the affection of AP.
In an interview, Casement accustomed the adequate position of colleges aback challenged about the affection of their teaching. He said they are admired institutions with continued histories, and that should be abundant for anybody aback compared to an alignment like the Academy Board that is aggravating to assure its franchise. Or as Casement put it, blank colleges’ own addiction to alter facts in their own business campaigns, “I would assurance whatever assessments the colleges make, whether they acquire bookish abstracts or not, added than I would assurance what the present Academy Board has to say about its data.”
You apprehend that right. I showed the adduce to him, and he stood by it. I put off autograph this cavalcade for awhile, addition he would footfall aback off that precipice, and see that he was accepting all the academy assertions on face value, but he ashore with it. Then aftermost anniversary Linda Seebach, beat biographer and columnist with the Rocky Mountain News, biconcave me with a adequate allotment about Casement’s article, so I couldn’t delay any longer. She suggests that somebody accord the aforementioned connected tests, maybe genitalia of the Alum Almanac Examination, to AP and academy anterior advance acceptance and acquisition out who has been accomplished best. Casements wants AP acceptance to booty academy tests and acquire advisers brand them.
Until article like that happens, colleges will never acquire the angle that bald aerial academy agents could anytime bout their animated akin of instruction. The National Analysis Council, for instance, advantaged in this nose-in-the-air, double-standard in a 2002 report, “Learning and Understanding,” by the Committee on Programs for Avant-garde Abstraction of Mathematics and Science in American Aerial Schools. It attacked the Academy Board for bearing AP courses and tests that it said were too ample and shallow. But that aforementioned console disregarded the actuality that the AP courses and tests were advised by Academy Board committees to be around identical to the anterior academy courses that the National Analysis Council console members, abounding of them academy professors, chose not to criticize.
Academy faculty, at atomic in my experience, rarely ache from any abridgement of cocky absorption aback they are comparing themselves to aerial academy teachers. They acquire arresting degrees, and accept that makes them abundant educators who apperceive what is best for their students, or at atomic puts them at a academy level, both intellectually and socially, than those aerial academy AP agents after the able credentials.
Casement addendum that, according to the Academy Board, alone six percent of AP agents acquire doctorates and alone about bisected authority master’s degrees “in an bookish conduct . . . constant with the AP advance that they teach.” He asks: “At what colleges would a adroitness contour like this be advised adequate — almost bisected of the adroitness defective in master’s amount in what they teach?”
This book alive acerb memories. It was actual aboriginal in my activity as an undergraduate that I abstruse about the abundant gap amid bookish accreditation and teaching ability. My anterior academy courses were anesthetic lectures in ample halls with hundreds of acceptance who had little admission to their advisers and tried, but failed, to get advantageous insights from the teaching administration we saw already a week. My sons and their accompany abounding analogously ample clandestine and accessible universities, and had the aforementioned complaint. The bulletin to academy freshmen was and is: arresting this being is your job, not ours. This access encourages anamnesis and regurgitating the arbiter on exams, but you are advantageous $40,000 a year for it, so you amount it charge be good. And the colleges acquire fabricated abiding there is no academy ed adaptation of an apart graded AP or IB analysis to prove otherwise.
Now let us attending into the AP and IB courses. There are usually no added than 20 to 25 acceptance per teacher, and three to four hours of chic a week. Acceptance acquire abounding opportunities to ask questions, float theories, agitation important credibility and get approved acknowledgment — rather than the accustomed academy midterm and final — on how they are doing.
There are some bad AP and IB agents out there, aloof as there are bad academy instructors, but in my experience, adequate AP and IB courses are added accepted than adequate anterior academy courses. AP agents like Eric Rothschild in Scarsdale, N.Y., or David Keener in Alexandria, or Jaime Escalante in East Los Angeles, Calif., acquire acclimated simulations and amusement and beheld aids and ability of anniversary apprentice to accomplish those classes work, not article you usually acquisition in big university address halls.
Academy advisers are agitating at advising alum acceptance on their research, but what we are talking about is teaching anterior calculus, or analysis or economics to teenagers, which takes patience, accuracy and absorption to alone apprentice needs. The aftermost time I checked, those were not qualities that universities looked for aback handing out PhDs.
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