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The Spread of Advanced Placement

September 14, 2009

A new report,Growing Pains in the Advanced Placement Program: Do Tough Trade-Offs Lie Ahead?“, about the expansion of the Advanced Placement (AP) program has just been released.

In 2002-2003, 1 million students participated in AP by taking at least one exam. Five years later, nearly 1.6 million did—a 50+ percent increase. But is growth all good? Might there be a downside? Are ill prepared students eroding the quality of the program? Perhaps harming the best and brightest? To find out, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute commissioned [a survey of] AP teachers in public high schools across the country. Perhaps not surprisingly, the AP program remains very popular with its teachers. But there are signs that the move toward “open door” access to AP is starting to cause concern.

For more insights, read the Executive Summary, Forward, or full report, Growing Pains in the Advanced Placement Program: Do Tough Trade-Offs Lie Ahead?.

You can also read Jay Matthews response to the Report, “AP More Open, But Not Dumbed Down“.  Matthews is an education columnist for the Washington Post.

As you read the stories, it may be helpful to know that, at Bozeman High School for the 2009-2010 school year, 33% of students took one or more AP tests and 82% of those earned a “passing” grade of 3, 4 or 5.   (However, each college decides whether they require a 3, 4 or 5 before they will give credit.)

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