Head to Head: Should APs be more exclusive?
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Limits bring success
Advanced Placement (AP) classes are taught at a college-level standard, making the classes rigorous and grueling. Although qualifying students are accepted into AP classes, other schools administer a test for students to be accepted, and the same should hold true on campus.
According to College Board’s California AP Report to the Nation, students who participated in the AP tests increased by more than 60,000 students from 2003 to 2013. However, 50% of students are not passing the AP tests, according to The College Board.
Excluding students from AP classes may discourage students and make them feel as if they cannot succeed in school, but it ensures that students are at the right level where they can comfortably learn. Many students hastily join AP classes without knowing about the course or the difficulty level, resulting in dropping out of the class.
“I think some students cluelessly join an AP class,” sophomore Nao Ichikawa said. “Also, failing the AP test wastes the money spent.”
In order to avoid this, schools should administer qualification tests or have a harder prerequisite for students to be accepted into an AP class.
Prerequisites for AP classes on campus usually include having a 80% or higher in the previous class. According to apcentral.collegeboard.com, Xaverian Brothers High School requires an 88% or higher in order to be enrolled in the AP class. A harder prerequisite separates the students who are able to succeed in a harder class from those who would struggle.
“There are many different ways to prove your level of knowledge,” counselor Heather Bethmann said. “It could be something of a combination of things where they have a test and looking at your grade also.”
With students able to take their first AP class in freshman year, some do not score a passing grade but still continue on the rigorous AP track. According to College Board’s score distribution for AP Human Geography, a freshman AP class, 29.5% of students scored a 1, while only 21.1% of students scored a 3.
This results in an overflow of students in higher level AP classes and not enough teachers. Providing a qualification exam, whether it be a test or recommendation, will prevent students following the AP course from exceeding the number of available teachers and classes.
*See the other side of this argument entitled “APs need more equal access”