Articles tagged with AP courses

CPE names “10 Good Things About Public Education”

Can you name 10 good things about public education?

Patte Barth, director of NSBA’s Center for Public Education, recently wrote about the many successes in public education for American School Board Journal, and she also gave her suggestions for ways schools can improve.

For instance, she notes, fourth-graders have improved their reading skills by six points on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) over the past decade.

“If that doesn’t sound like much, consider that 10 points on the NAEP scale is approximately one year’s worth of learning,” Barth writes. “More significantly, the gains have largely been from the bottom up, and the achievement gap is narrowing between children of color and their white classmates.”

In high school, more students are taking higher-level courses, and schools are becoming better at addressing the needs of students at risk of dropping out, thus increasing their graduation rates. But there are still some 3,000 high schools that lack the capacity to offer Algebra II, and policymakers and the public must ensure that all students have access to higher-level courses and the supports they need to be prepared for college or the workforce, Barth says.

And polls show that local communities continue to support their local schools even as the public opinion of public education has declined.

The list includes:

1. Community support

2. Mathematics

3. High school graduation rates

4. High-quality prekindergarten

5. High-level high school courses

6. ESEA and IDEA: Monumental laws

7. English language learners

8. Civics

9. Beginning reading

10. A tradition of universal education

Barth’s column also was recently featured in Education Week’sK-12 Parents and the Public” blog.




Joetta Sack-Min|July 17th, 2012|Categories: Curriculum, High Schools, Center for Public Education, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Data Driven Decision Making, Mathematics Education, Student Achievement, Assessment, 21st Century Skills, American School Board Journal, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

More students are taking AP courses, but is it smart?

It’s hard to be an elitist. You’re either viewed as a snob-or everyone wants to crash the party.

The latter appears to be the case today when it comes to Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Nowadays, every high school student with college aspirations wants at least one AP course on his or her high school transcript.

At least, it seems that way after reading a new study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, which reports that the number of high school students taking at least one AP course has jumped 45 percent to 1.6 million students since 2004.

That’s a bit of a bump.

It also raises some questions: Are all those extra students ready to handle high-level coursework? And, if not, are schools letting down their standards rather than watch failure rates rise on AP courses?

So far, such fears appear unfounded, according to the report, Growing Pains in the Advanced Placement Program: Do Tough Trade-offs Lie Ahead? More than three in four teachers “rate their own high school’s AP program as good (52 percent) or excellent (25 percent).”

At the same time, the College Board reports that “the percentage of the 2008 high school graduating class scoring at least one 3 on an AP test rose to 15.2 percent up from 12.2 percent in 2003.”

Not every finding in the report is rosy.  As more students take AP courses, there’s been a modest slip in overall academic results-“the percentage of all exams receiving at least a 3 declined from 61.6 percent to 57.7 percent, and the mean scores slipped from 2.96 to 2.85.”

Teachers also report that growing enrollment in AP courses has more to do with students wanting more impressive college applications than with any love of learning.

Naomi Dillon|April 30th, 2009|Categories: Educational Research, Student Achievement, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , |
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