In case you missed it, two million high school students took AP tests this month. Here’s a few fast facts about College Board’s Advanced Placement program:
- In 2011, 3.4 million exams were taken by nearly 2 million students at over 18,000 high schools.
- The AP Program offers 34 courses in a wide variety of subject areas.
- The majority of U.S. high schools currently participate in the AP Program.
The good news includes:
- Courses objectives are moderately clear
- Tests are objectively scored
- Tests require a fair amount of writing
- Most four-year colleges in the United States provide credit for qualifying test scores.
- Steady growth in participation includes more low income and minority students
- Most delivery is traditional cohort-based (i.e, lockstep, not personalized)
- The time-based system is reinforced by few testing dates (unlike Cisco Academy which offers tests daily)
- The AP Exam fee is $87 per exam.
- Exams reinforce content memorization rather than deeper learning
- Computers are prohibited
- Move the tests online. Not many students write by hand anymore; it’s crazy to make them do it on a test.
- Make multiple testing windows available (e.g., 6-8 times annually) to support competency-based learning.
- Encourage the development of personalized and adaptive content with a prize aimed at advances in the most popular courses.
- Encourage the development of flex programs that expand access and support increased success (see When Glee Meets FIRST for Coffee and Leaves With an AA & 10 Reasons Every District Should Open a Flex School) by offering program leader bootcamps.
- Incorporate automated scoring to drive down test administration costs and improve the quality of performance tasks.