In numbers, the AP program has never been healthier: In the spring of 2012, two million students took 3.7 million AP exams, double the volume of a decade before. However, increasing numbers of colleges are questioning the basic premise of the AP program – that an AP course, successfully completed (with a score of 4 or 5, and sometimes even a 3) is the equivalent of a college course, and therefore should be given a college credit. Just last week, Dartmouth joined Amherst, Boston College, Colby, Williams and others in no longer granting college credit for AP exam results. (Nor will they give credit for students with results from the International Baccalaureate or A-level exams.) While not giving credit, these colleges and others will consider giving “enhanced standing” in a discipline or department based on AP results. A few colleges (mostly engineering schools) give neither credit nor enhanced standing (Cal Tech, Harvey Mudd, and Olin College of Engineering are a few in this category). These colleges are saying that high school AP courses simply are not the equivalent of college courses. It has been noted that, at some high schools, AP courses have become “test prep for the AP test,” with none of the depth and nuance of a college course. And, in truth, very few students actually use their AP results to graduate from college early. Instead, AP results have been useful as a factor in admissions and placement. At IESolutions, we do not expect that these developments will diminish the popularity of the AP program, but rather will put the exam into its proper role as another credential students may present as part of an application. But, it is not the equivalent of a rigorous college course. That’s why students go to college!
Sarah C. Reese Informed Educational Solutions firstname.lastname@example.org
- What factors are most important in college admissions? (myiesolutions.wordpress.com)
- Dartmouth College Ending Advanced Placement Credit (abcnews.go.com)
- Dartmouth to end use of Advanced Placement scores for credit (insidehighered.com)
- AP Credit Will No Longer Be Accepted At Dartmouth (wnyc.org)