About this paper

Appears in:
Page: 3085
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain

ADVANCED PLACEMENT INSTRUCTION: PREPARING STUDENTS FOR COLLEGE READINESS OR ANOTHER RACE TO THE MIDDLE?

N. McClanahan

Highland Park High School (UNITED STATES)
With the recent release of Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future (2007), the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy has called for a greater stress on college readiness in secondary education so students are ready to move into the fields of mathematics and science. In response to this need for college-readiness, the College Board has called for an "open door policy" for Advanced Placement (AP) classes throughout the nation. While the College Board itself stresses that AP classes help students “Earn College Credit and Advanced Placement…Stand Out in the College Admissions Process…Gain Skills that Will Help You Succeed in College…[and] Broaden Your Intellectual Horizons” (College Board, 2009), is this truly why students are enrolling in record numbers for Advanced Placement classes? When any student who wishes to take an Advanced Placement class is allowed to take an AP class, is this stimulating students to push themselves to be more ready for college or forcing teachers into the position of ignoring the best and brightest in order to teach the lowest, therefore achieving another race to the middle?

Through a study of AP teachers in America’s public high schools, a 2009 Fordham Institute report, Growing Pains in the Advanced Placement Program: Do Tough Trade-offs Lie Ahead? found that “even though teachers believe that the program’s is retaining its quality in the face of tremendous expansion, over half (56%) of teachers believe that too many students overestimate their abilities and are in over their heads.” The national random survey of 1,024 AP teachers and four focus groups with AP teachers indicated “overly ambitious parents and overly optimistic students are putting a strain on the quality of the program.” While it would be idyllic to see the AP Program’s tremendous growth as driven by students’ desire to learn more about subject matter and be exposed to more rigorous instruction, the desire of students to indicate AP courses on their transcripts, or school administrators' desires to bolster national school rankings by increasing participation in Advanced Placement programs seem to be closer to reality.

Newsweek magazine of June 8, 2009 ranked Highland Park High School in Dallas, TX as twenty-third among high schools in the nation, primarily due to the number of students participating in AP testing (approximately 4300 tests taken by just over 1300 students at the school). Through a survey study of students in Advanced Placement classes, the reasons for participation in the AP program will be explored. This survey, especially examining students in Advanced Placement mathematics and science classes, will discover students' reasons for enrolling in the Advanced Placement program and subsequently taking the Advanced Placement tests. It will then be able to answer the question “Is this academic enhancement program effective in leading to the goals of more advanced mathematics and science knowledge or simply watering down a once powerful program?”
@InProceedings{MCCLANAHAN2009ADV,
author = {McClanahan, N.},
title = {ADVANCED PLACEMENT INSTRUCTION: PREPARING STUDENTS FOR COLLEGE READINESS OR ANOTHER RACE TO THE MIDDLE?},
series = {2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-2953-3},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {3085}}
TY - CONF
AU - N. McClanahan
TI - ADVANCED PLACEMENT INSTRUCTION: PREPARING STUDENTS FOR COLLEGE READINESS OR ANOTHER RACE TO THE MIDDLE?
SN - 978-84-613-2953-3/2340-1095
PY - 2009
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2009
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2009 Proceedings
SP - 3085
EP - 3085
ER -
N. McClanahan (2009) ADVANCED PLACEMENT INSTRUCTION: PREPARING STUDENTS FOR COLLEGE READINESS OR ANOTHER RACE TO THE MIDDLE?, ICERI2009 Proceedings, p. 3085.
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