- Eight private high schools favored by Washington insiders jointly announced this week that they plan to drop AP classes because of their “diminished utility,” planning to instead develop their own advanced placement courses that will more effectively serve student needs and interests, Inside Higher Ed reports.
- The schools stated that current college experience demands more “collaborative, experiential, and interdisciplinary learning” than current AP courses offer, and that their own courses will provide more engaging programs that will better prepare students for “critical thinking and rigorous analysis” required of college-level studies.
- These school leaders said they surveyed 150 colleges and found that AP coursework has become so common that these classes are no longer “noteworthy” on college applications, and that dropping the AP classes in favor of other rigorous high school studies will not adversely impact college admissions.
Advanced Placement courses have long held a place in many high schools as an alternative for students seeking more rigorous coursework to boost college acceptance rates and to earn possible college credit. However, the program seems to be, in some ways, a victim of its own success. The class of 2017 had 1.17 million students with at least one AP class on their high school transcripts — a fact that is devaluing the AP credit in the eyes of some college admission officers.
As educational philosophies and college and workplace demands are shifting to a more critical thinking and global approach, more schools are looking at other alternatives to providing rigorous high school courses. While most public high schools cannot afford the luxury of creating their own specialized courses, the International Baccalaureate program offers a more holistic and global approach in pre-packaged format. And the newer Cambridge curriculum is also gaining a foothold in more schools across the nation.
For many students, the ultimate goal in taking such classes is to gain college credit as way to reduce costs and the amount of time spent in obtaining a college degree. The most direct path for most students is the growing implementation of dual-enrollment courses, which allow students to gain both high school and college credit for the same course. Though the implementation of these programs varies widely across states, many schools are now working with local colleges to provide access to direct teacher instruction or online classes for students who qualify to work at this level. With all these options, school administrators now have more paths than ever to consider as they strive to provide more rigorous options for college-bound students.