Please comment - A/P classes pitfalls

<p>Please share your opinions..</p>

<p>Op-Ed:</a> Advanced Pressure - Video Library - The New York Times</p>

<p>I hope this link works.. I am kind of relieved now that my S. decided not take the AP US History class next year. That's exactly what his soc.studies teacher had told them..</p>

<p>Thanks for the link. Next Monday is "parent university" at school and there is a breakout session on AP classes. I just sent the counseling dept the link and asked them to please show it to the parents.</p>

<p>I'm sure they won't. Our HS pushes AP classes like crazy. My son took 11. My D, as junior, is at 5 and will probably take two more next year (she had thought about a couple more but has reconsidered.) My other D, who is an 8th grader, will take almost none if I have anything to do with it.</p>

<p>This is S's first year taking APs (he's a senior) and he's taking AP Stats and AP English. He is not doing nearly as well as he would be in English IV (non-AP) and if he hadn't taken a fourth year of math, but he is being pushed. His regular classes are not anywhere near as challenging and of course his grades are higher in those.</p>

<p>His school also has a policy of not dropping APs once you sign the contract. I think each parent and child need to take a close look at the particular AP class, the student's level of interest, capability, ability to work hard, ability to get extra help if needed (tutor, etc.) and weigh all those factors. My S is a B student but coping with the two APs. A very academic student looking for rigorous, strenuous coursework will probably not get the challenge he/she is seeking unless he takes some APs. I have to qualify that and say at least that's the case at the high school our kids attend.</p>

<p>There is more pressure all around, more stress in the house, more stress on the student, but on the flip side, S is about to go to college. We want him pushed and we don't want the year before he starts college to be a piece of cake or he might fall down when the college expectations seem too hard. He has a balance of easier classes with two very challenging ones and he should be ready to work hard as a college freshman.</p>

<p>We would not have allowed him to take APs as a junior as for him it would not be a good choice. The most academically advanced kids in his school take APs as sophomores.</p>

<p>Thank you so much for this link......wish that ALL admissions officers would watch it...</p>

<p>as an aside, younger daughter attends a private school that offers very few AP courses and has the philosophy that "all courses are taught at the level to prepare students for college".....</p>

<p>edit: campbellmom's post was right on target....</p>

<p>APs are a joke (a mile long and an inch deep), but that's what all college bound kids take at D's HS and the other classes, even "college prep" are taught at a ridiculously low level. I agree with everything in that video, but I am at a loss about what should be done.</p>

<p>Thanks for posting.
I think APs are here to stay until colleges stop paying too much attention to them, and
HS ranking don't factor in APs scores. </p>

<p>I can't believe a teacher could tell a kid that she needs a Dr. note to drop a class.</p>

<p>CB is making out like a bandit.</p>

<p>APs at our kids' high school are very rigorous courses. None are low-level. That's why each family needs to make the decision based on their kid and their high school. There is not one answer that applies across all situations.</p>

<p>What I find most disappointing at our high school, is the huge gap between regular college-prep track and the APs. There should be some middle ground between too easy and not challenging enough and the APs which are college-level courses.</p>

<p>Buyer beware: know your student, know your high school, know what the APs are like and what's expected, then choose wisely.</p>

<p>Excellent post. I sent it to my son's guidance counselor and our HS Principal.</p>

<p>
[quote]
What I find most disappointing at our high school, is the huge gap between regular college-prep track and the APs. There should be some middle ground between too easy and not challenging enough and the APs which are college-level courses.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Our HS has regular, pre-AP and AP classes for English and Social Studies in grades 9-11....then in 12th grade, there is no pre-AP option. So my D, who has been in AP Soc studies/history classes all through school, is going to take "regular" Govn't and Econ her senior year. Seems crazy but I'm with her because Son took the AP versions and they lived up to their rep as "GPA busters."</p>

<p>As the video says, AP classes have become essential to the top students college applications. I wish they would get rid of the and create some sort of "super honors" classes instead that prepare a child for the college curriculum in a subject. My son's school is like the one in the video and most of the AP classes are very rigorous and time consuming (with the exception of psychology, human geography and environmental science). Despite this, I have heard of some students taking 6 or 7 AP classes in one semester. These kids are burning the candle at both ends. Bright, but not Val/Sal type kids are pressured into taking 5 AP classes in their junior and senior years just to have a shot at being in the top 10% of the class (since without them and the extra weighting that they have, it is just not possible). My son is a sophomore. Next year I plan to INSIST that he limit his AP choices to 4 maximum (with one being psych) but I know that I am already in for a fight. He is currently in the top 2% of his class and he won't want to be "kept out of the AP arm's race". ARGGGG</p>

<p>Same here with the high school not offering classes in the middle ground. My son's girlfriend complained that the choice was between IB Physics, or physics with the "kids that can't read." She meant that literally in some cases.</p>

<p>The teacher's comments about not being able to cover everything, going a mile a minute so the kids can regurgitate everything on a multiple choice test, says volumes to me. The difference between that kind of AP class and the AP classes of my high school years is breathtaking. </p>

<p>Another major difference was that there was limited enrollment for AP coursework. AP courses didn't get weighted in GPA calculations, but people wanted the challenge. To ensure that the courses could be taught at what the teachers felt was an appropriately high level, you had to be approved for the course, based on past teacher's recommendations and your grades. APUSH in particular had more kids interested than there were seats, and there were disappointed kids who didn't get into the course. But that class was spectacular, with a wonderful, truly college-level reading list, lots of critical essays for homework and on tests, and a teacher who was a wonderful lecturer. He told us he was prepping us for college and taking notes, and he did a great job. That was also in an era where taking two AP courses a year was the upper limit. </p>

<p>I know the arguments for allowing any interested student to enroll in AP coursework. Maybe that needs to be reconsidered.</p>

<p>I wish I had seen this 3 yrs ago when S was a sophomore. He chose AP classes in the areas in which he wanted more depth and took CP classes for the others. I was frustrated with his choices because I was looking at it from the "college app" point of view. In retrospect, he chose the best classes for himself and has applied to schools which he feels are a good fit for him. He is very content right now (albeit anxious to hear from them!) </p>

<p>DD is a rising junior and is very much the opposite. She's the one I'll have to watch and I'm glad you've shared this video!</p>

<p>I'm forwarding this to all of my friends and the counselors.</p>

<p>This is so true. I'm a senior and I see this first hand.</p>

<p>I took 3 APs(and a College class through Pitt) my junior year and took 4 APs and a college class this year. </p>

<p>I was told by my GC that unless I picked up AP English that colleges would not take me seriously. Also, that my class rank would suffer without it. I basically told him off and took college prep English</p>

<p>IDK what college this class is prepping for. IT WAS A JOKE. We wrote 2 papers in a semester and read 3 stories. It was full of kids going to Community or trade school..no serious college applicants took the class...</p>

<p>it's awful</p>

<p>My son's high school doesn't let kids take APs till junior year, and with rare exceptions students are restricted to 3 AP courses per year out of 6 academic courses (so the maximum number of APs a student can take is normally 6). I think this is a very wise policy.</p>

<p>Haven't read all the comments, but watched the video. My s and d both took 11 AP classes in H.S. They didn't need that many for the colleges they were applying to -- one's at University of Florida, one's at University of Central Florida. They took them, as much as any other reason, because they were bored silly in their honors courses. With the trend towards pushing standard kids into honors courses and honors kids into AP courses, they've "dumbed down" the honors courses at their respective high schools (two different schools due to zoning changes). Teachers have kids in honors who can't keep up so they slow down and modify the class. An example, D took honors physics before AP physics. Her honors teacher taught both standard and honors: the only difference between the two classes ... two extra problems sets on the homework each night. It was a joke.</p>

<p>And not all kids are struggling in these AP classes ... when it's a good teacher with kids who are qualified for the class, it can be quite rewarding for both student and teacher. Thankfully, each of my kids had quite a few AP classes like that. And when it came to homework ... D actually had less in her AP classes than in some of her busy-work-project-heavy honors classes. I also think it also comes down to which students you interview for your video as to what responses you'll get. For some AP is no more difficult than any other class they have, but for others ... who probably shouldn't have been in the AP class to begin with ... it can be a nightmare. And then you have some who should be in the class ... and teachers are not qualified to teach the class. It's a pretty complicated issue. </p>

<p>zebes</p>

<p>I remember ditching AP English and AP Comparative Govt my senior years for the standard level classes instead. The classes were ridiculous jokes, though it was a nice let up for my otherwise full load of APs.</p>

<p>I've got a question for all these schools full of people apparently taking 5+ APs a semester/year. What sort of scores do they get on all of them? Is everyone passing with a 4 or a 5? I mean, if they aren't, then your schools have some crazy grade inflation going on. I remember my grades in AP classes were pretty indicative of how I'd do on the AP test. Every class I got a B in, I got a 4. Every class I got an A, I got a 5.</p>

<p>As far as my school goes, I didn't really agree with the video.
I'm a senior this year enrolled in six AP courses and, honestly, it's challenging and at times stressful but those who actually care about the subject and are able to handle the challenge should not be up to 2 or 3 AM every night, regardless of the number taken.
Since I'm not the strongest or most interested science student, I opted not to take a science course this year to fit in a third AP social science (Econ, US Gov, and Comp. Gov). I'm perfectly happy with my decision and my GPA has not suffered for it either.</p>

<p>Also, the needing a doctor's note to drop an AP class is completely new to me. At my school, anyone can drop an AP (or any other) class completely within the first two weeks or at any time if it's just a drop to a lower level. We also have a GHP level in between CP and Honors/AP.</p>

<p>RacinReaver -- Both my kids passed every AP exam they had. D's an AP national scholar and S is an AP scholar with distinction. Several of their teachers have pass rates of 80 percent, which I thought was pretty good considering that you sign a contract when you take the class which says you will take the exam ... so all students take the exams. </p>

<p>zebes</p>

<p>Most kids in our AP classes don't do exams..I'd say maybe half...</p>