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AP is meant to offer more than the regular HS curriculum. The A students will more easily handle the material most likely because they most likely have more ability.
What I don't understand is if AP courses are intended to be equivalent to first year university level courses why are so many students taking AP courses let alone in grades 9 & 10? Why is it even assumed that every student is capable of doing university level work in high school?
AP classes are only equivalent to mediocre college courses. Remember half need to be above and half below average (or mean depending on what is being measured). The material covered may be equivalent to some college's courses but certainly not all. UW-Madison's regular calculus sequence is one example- they recommend starting with the beginning course for those who pass the AP calc exam because most will have trouble with the second course.
Some of the AP courses in question cover the material in the college frosh level courses that are commonly considered to be easier ones at many colleges,and high school AP courses often take a whole year to cover what the college course covers in a semester.