AP May Not Be As “advanced” or Important As It Caims to Be

(Photo Courtesy of apcleptest.com) A sign for the public to be aware that students are taking their AP test.
(Photo Courtesy of apcleptest.com)
A sign for the public to be aware that students are taking their AP test.

By: Denise Hensley

When students take Advance Placement classes in high school, they think that it will lead them to a good college, but what happens when colleges no longer accept AP credits?

As the demand for AP classes increases and the number of students who earn a five on the exam increases, colleges should be impressed by the rise. However, the truth behind this is actually quite shocking.  According to Dartmouth University, out of 100 students who scored a five on their AP exams, only ten percent received a passing score on their Dartmouth tests for introductory classes which are considered equivalent to AP classes.  They also followed up their investigation by comparing whether students who took AP classes worked better than students who did not.  They couldn’t detect a difference.  Due to these statistics, Dartmouth will cease to accept AP credits starting with the class of 2018.

Other colleges that have stopped admitting AP credits are Boston University, Vanderbilt, UCLA, Stanford, Harvard, etc.  Some of these universities will make an exception for APs related to math such as AP Calculus and AP Statistics, and others will only allow students to use one AP credit per semester.  If some of the best colleges in the nation no longer accept AP credits, then maybe schools should discontinue offering AP classes.  Students take AP to gain an advantage over other non-AP students, so there is no point to take a class that does not provide them with benefits.  Especially non-existent benefits they are paying $89 per test for.

The College Board, which creates the AP and SAT exams and publishes books designed to help students pass the tests, refuses to believe the results acquired from Dartmouth.  The College Board states that they have researched that AP students do better in their introductory classes than non-AP students, but this is difficult to believe coming from a company that profits from the AP exams.

AP classes are also structured for students to specifically pass the AP exams, which contain different material than they would learn in college introductory classes.  Students are basically spending semesters or years in high school learning how to pass a company created test and not the subject itself.  That is most likely the reason why so many Dartmouth students who took AP classes failed their entrance exams.

It is true that getting accepted into college is becoming more difficult due to the rise in competition from students who are obtaining AP credits.  However, more and more colleges are realizing that students do not actually reap much from AP classes.  Maybe sometime in the future the race to get into college may become fair from the removal of AP courses from high schools and maybe students will actually gain knowledge on their subjects and not just on how to pass a test.

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