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A in a Regular course or a B in an AP...another viewpoint

13

Replies to: A in a Regular course or a B in an AP...another viewpoint

  • itsintheprocessitsintheprocess Registered User Posts: 164 Junior Member
    @bluebayou Although my school offered AP Stats it was recommend for those who were basically not that great in math but also wanted to take an AP Math. AP Calc AB/BC were seen as the classes to take if you were truly proficient in math and wanted to take it for the sake of knowledge not because you want the AP credit. Plus it was the highest level of math offered at my school so I didn't really have an options lol.
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 12,463 Senior Member
    edited August 12
    re posts #22 and 24. No, B and C students are NOT as capable as the A students. 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. There may be the bored gifted student who underperforms and gets lower grades but for the most part there are ability reasons for students to excel or not. Just learning something does not justify taking a course- the student will likely learn more in a slower paced class and be better prepared for the next one.

    We NEED elitism and exclusion in education to best serve the best students. No watering down subjects so all can participate. All students are NOT created equally. There are two halves to the Bell curve, not just the side with the low end abilities.

    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. Also note I said regular, the Honors sequence is different (more theory than problem based as well).

    No reason to not offer true AP classes to every grade HS student. Some are capable of the work despite being only freshmen. btw- a friend of son's who was also gifted and a grade ahead got a 5 on the AP US History exam before taking either the regular or AP version (our HS allowed students to take reg/AP or just AP without reg) offered to sophomores. He knew the material and it would have been a shame for him to be bored with either class. Children (students) move at different paces. Frankly, once you acquire basic skills most classes just add to knowledge and not how to learn it. one size does not fit all.
  • itsintheprocessitsintheprocess Registered User Posts: 164 Junior Member
    While I do think a 93 avg may be quite high to be allowed to take an AP ( I personally believe that B students should be allowed as well) I do think there needs to be some limitations on APs. I'm not saying that kids should be banned but I do think that a teachers recommendation of whether or not that student should take that class should take precedence.
    Allow me to elaborate. In my school to take an AP you basically need your teacher to sign off on it and say "this child will do well in this class". In most cases as long as you held a C in the class teachers would sign (the more stricter teachers would only sign if you had a B or higher). But let's say a teacher wouldn't sign off on an AP class and the child still wanted to do it. The parent would simply fill out an override form and the child would be put in that AP. The only issue is that if a parent does this a child MUST stay in the class for a full quarter even if they preform poorly because you acknowledge that you've been advised against this etc etc. In most cases the students who had there parents overide the teacher recommendation basically flunked out of that AP and switched out as soon as the first quarter ended. I personally don't think this should be allowed because it harms the kid so much. My own friend who had there parent override a class not only had to switch to a different class and make up an entire quarter but had to deal with what that F did to their GPA. APs should be taken if a child can handle it, but if they can't there's no shame. Forcing a child to do an AP will do much more harm than good.
  • YnotgoYnotgo Registered User Posts: 3,530 Senior Member
    @wis75 wrote:
    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.
    I felt my son was well-served by his high school, which allowed students to take AP classes early and without a prerequisite class. If they hadn't done that, I don't know what we would have done.

    He was able to take the 3 main science APs in 9th, 10th, and 11th and then dual enrollment science/CS classes. (He took the AP CS test in 8th.) They let him test out of Precalc and take AP Calc BC in 10th and dual enrollment math after that.

    He did have to wait until 11th and 12th grade for the AP English classes, and the history/econ/gov't classes were size-limited so that only certain grades had priority. Honestly, the APUSH and English classes were watered down so that more people could take them. He found by reading the grading rubrics in a prep book that they were teaching essay styles aimed at getting a 3. So we probably have a lot of students getting As and 3s or 4s.

    His only B+s were in 10th grade honors English from a teacher who...well never mind that rant. Anyway, the point of that is that you can't really predict "A in regular vs B in AP" because he got much better grades in AP English.
  • labegglabegg Registered User Posts: 1,706 Senior Member
    edited August 12
    Re# 32. NVM I give up
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 21,028 Senior Member
    D2 was on the IB track in high school. She was a humanities student with intention of major in philosophy or government. When it came to choose classes junior and senior year in high school, her private college counselor advised her to take low level math and physics even though she was placed into high level math. He said aside from the fact it was better for her to get As in those low level courses than getting Bs, he was concerned that she would spend so much time on math/science that it would impact her humanities grades. As it turned out, she never took another math or physics class once she go to college.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 63,499 Senior Member
    gwnorth wrote:
    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?

    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.

    https://secure-media.collegeboard.org/digitalServices/pdf/research/2016/Program-Summary-Report-2016.pdf indicates that a little fewer than a third of 12th graders took AP exams in 2016. Similar numbers of 11th graders took AP exams, but slightly fewer exams per student, and differently distributed (e.g. compare English language versus English literature numbers). About half as many 10th graders took AP exams (and fewer per student), and relatively few 9th graders took AP exams (mostly human geography).
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 63,499 Senior Member
    wis75 wrote:
    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.

    Not sure how this claim necessarily follows from https://apir.wisc.edu/admissions/AP_Analysis_2015_v2.pdf (starting at page 8). For students taking Math 222 after AP calculus AB versus Math 221, those with AP 4 did insignificantly worse, but those with AP 5 did significantly better, compared to those who took Math 221. For students taking Math 234 after AP calculus BC versus Math 222, the results were similar.
  • pkchamp89pkchamp89 Registered User Posts: 521 Member
    edited August 13
    In our district, many students take the APs because of the weighting they get for the classes which helps their class ranking. Although the grades for the class are reported on their transcript as unweighted. The weighting comes into play only for the calculation for their class ranking.

    We attended an admissions session at Bucknell and this exact question was posed to the AO's. Their response was we want to see you get an "A" in the AP. High rigor of schedule with a high grade.
  • toowonderfultoowonderful Registered User Posts: 3,507 Senior Member
    I teach AP courses to freshman (AP Euro) and sophomores (AP US). Our school does not offer honors in Social Studies- kids take regular or AP. Approx 35-40 freshman and 70-80 sophomores take AP out of a class of around 250. Our dept is the only one to offer AP to freshmen, kids can take APES as a sophomore. The thinking is, the only way to understand how AP works is to DO it. My scores are above the national average, but not by much. BUT- our schools scores in AP Gov, AP Psy, AP World, and AP Econ (which are taught to juniors and seniors) are EXCELLENT- b/c a large % of kids in those classes have already taken an AP
  • gwnorthgwnorth Registered User Posts: 106 Junior Member
    @ucbalumnus wrote:
    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.

    Thanks for the clarification. DS's school is semestered so the AP courses are as well. As a result, some AP courses taken in second semester actually have to be accelerated a bit because our school year ends in June and the AP exams are written in May. Since the program at DS's school is new they currently only offer a limited number of AP courses with the bulk of them being in the math and sciences.
  • Marcie123Marcie123 Registered User Posts: 157 Junior Member
    My D18 took 3 AP's last year and is taking 4 this year. She gets a mix of A's and B's in them. She chooses to take them because she's interested in the subjects and the teachers are excellent. She says she'd rather get a B in an AP than an A in regular. She is applying to a few top tier schools but knows that she's more likely going to be going to one of her match/likely schools and she's fine with that.

    Fwiw, she got B's both semesters of AP Lang. Teacher gives very few A's. But she received a 5 on the AP exam and 36 and 35 on English/Reading so even though she got B's she feels she's learned a lot.
  • megan12megan12 Registered User Posts: 642 Member
    A 93 average in a regular class as a precursor to taking honors/AP may be high (this is a college prep school so they're demands are high), which is why they allow the teachers to make the final call. That being said, I still don't believe a student who is getting less than a B+ should be taking a higher level class. It's always better to take the level of class that you can do well in. Colleges want you to challenge yourself, but if you get a C in the upper classes, then it's not worth anything anyway. To say that they would learn more in a higher class is silly. If they're getting a C or less, they're clearly not learning, and why add to the stress? It means that the student is in the wrong class and cannot keep up with the rigorous demands. At that point, they're better off in a regular class.
  • tutumom2001tutumom2001 Registered User Posts: 617 Member
    edited August 14
    ^^^ "I still don't believe a student who is getting less than a B+ should be taking a higher level class."

    I have known many, many students from the time I was in high school until now when I have kids in school who get less than a B+ because they are bored in an easy class. In other words, sometimes a child will make a C in an easy version of a course they might make an A in if it is more difficult and the student is challenged. Not to mention that how a student learns and is tested will also affect his scores. A student who has difficulty memorizing dates might not do as well in a history course that focuses on who-what-when multiple choice of events rather than an AP course that focuses on comparisons/contrasts essays of the significance of events.

    Whether or not a student takes an AP class should be left up to joint discussion among the student, parents, and educators involved.
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal Registered User Posts: 3,196 Senior Member
    I think this depends on the student, the school, and the subject. My kid was one who really preferred the pace of more challenging classes as well as the level of engagement. With that said, he was more than happy with a B in those classes (even though he got 5s on the AP exams) because while he did the work, he didn't kill himself to do it as well as he might have. As @bjkmom notes, some kids work at that level regardless of the class. Was i happy with that?
    Not really, but I felt like he needed to work that out on his own (which he did. - senior year. Too late in some regards, but he learned about himself in the process and ended up at his top choice school all the same, albeit with a fair number of sleepless nights on my part.)

    So what did he get out of it? Knowing what engagement in the classroom looked like and wanting it in college. Exposure to topics at a higher level. Seeing the work of smart kids who applied themselves more than he did and understanding those standards. Learning that being smart isn't enough, especially when everyone else in the room is also smart. Learning that some things come morearly easily - that not everyone has the same gifts or interests.

    By the same token, he got in a little over his head in both math and science at a few points, and I think it resulted in a weaker foundation and a little less confidence. However, he did learn to ask for help and had to really work at learning, which is often a new experience for kids who have sailed through school up for most of their years. He also learned that a C isn't the end of the world, especially if you really worked hard for it. And since he had started high school thinking this might be what he was most interested in, he also got to rethink that before starting college on that path. (This is a common refrain among his friends, btw. )

    His school required students in AP and IB classes to take the exam so they'd all be committed to mastering the material by the test date. Students were not allowed to take classes for which they were unprepared or in which they would slow the class but if they didn't work, well, the consequences were all theirs. I think DS also learned the importance of getting the load right. If a lot of time goes into one class, that's time that isn't available for another.

    For him, this path allowed him to learn his own lessons about learning and be better prepared for college. (He did much better in college than he did in high school.)

    I feel like we're cheating our kids of the chance to take risks and experience a little failure (in the form of a B or C??!!) and experiment with how they learn when we only want/allow them to get As. And yet I realize that the system can impose really harsh consequences on kids who "work it out" through experience.

    It's a tough call. I think we want our kids to succeed and thrive, but does not necessarily mean getting As.
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