Friday, January 18, 2013

The weakness of Advanced Placement courses

Concerned that Advanced Placement courses are not as rigorous as college courses, Dartmouth has announced that it will no longer give college credits for good A.P. scores, starting with the class of 2018. ...

“The psychology department got more and more suspicious about how good an indicator a 5 on the A.P. psych exam was for academic success,” said Hakan Tell, a classics professor who heads Dartmouth’s Committee on Instruction, so the department decided to give a condensed version of the Psych 1 final to incoming students instead of giving them credits.

Of more than 100 students who had scored a 5 on the A.P. exam, 90 percent failed the Dartmouth test. ...

A follow-up effort produced even worse results, Professor Tell said. “We looked at the students who failed our on-campus exam but decided to enroll in Psych 1, to see whether they did any better than students who had never taken the Advanced Placement class, and we couldn’t detect any difference whatsoever,” he said.
--Tamar Lewin, NYT, on the myth of AP college-level equivalence