In other words: no disrespect for the College Board intended, but Dartmouth courses are better than AP exams. Haken Tell, professor of classics, was quoted in the , “The concern that we have is that increasingly, AP has been seen as equivalent to a college-level course, and it really isn't, in our opinion.” The Dartmouth decision occasioned a lot of commentary in the academic press.Princeton and Columbia both allow students to receive academic credit for AP courses, but at least at Princeton, few students avail themselves of the option.
When the President of Lafayette College objected that he “would not be told by any Board whom to admit and not to admit,” Eliot responded with disdain: The President of Lafayette College has misunderstood . No one proposes to deprive Lafayette College of that privilege.” The story is recounted in the 1950 official history of the College Board and was retold in Frederick Rudolph’s invaluable 1962 book, . Those dates are important because they point back to a time when the College Board knew perfectly well what its purpose was. Compare that to what the College Board today says about itself and its past: The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity.
Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education.
Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. history is given cursory treatment and some ideological themes are sounded rather loudly.
In its later days, the College Board has decided that its “mission” is not to advance standards but to assist students, and it has gone so far as to project back to 1900 the idea that its role was to “expand access.” That pretty clearly was not President Eliot’s idea. History (APUSH) Curriculum Framework. It is, in many respects, a dispiriting document. In view of the many, many faults in American K-12 education, should the College Board’s hapless revision of the Advanced Placement framework in American history occasion special concern? There are bigger problems, but this is one of those small problems that signifies larger things. Advanced Placement courses occupy a significant place in the ecology of American education.
The initiative to create the College Board grew out of several decades of growing distress among elite New England preparatory academies and awkwardness among the leading colleges and universities on the question of what college-bound students should learn.
President Charles Eliot at Harvard and President Nicholas Murray Butler at Columbia took the lead, and they set a patrician tone. It will be perfectly practicable under this plan for Lafayette College to say, if it chooses, that it will admit only such students as cannot pass these examinations.Today, more than a quarter (25.8 percent) of American high school students take AP courses.In 2013, 852,782 high school took at least one AP course, out of the roughly 3.3 million who graduated.That quarter of the graduating class that took AP courses, however, isn’t the whole story.The figure contains within it a smaller subset—perhaps about 400,000 students—whose skills roughly match the ostensible level of the courses, and a still smaller subset who are truly talented.The rate of students who “pass” the exams varies from about 55 to 70 percent by subject, with some outliers, such as Advanced Placement Chinese, where more than 94 percent of the exam takers received a 3 or better in 2014. So a lot of the less talented students who have flooded into the AP courses do not end up either winning college credit or placing out of required courses.In Computer Science, the figure was 67.6 percent; Calculus AB, 57.7 percent; English Literature and Composition, 56.0 percent; and U. Most of those who fail the AP exams probably pass the high school course, so one possible response is, “Why does it matter? The AP courses themselves are inevitably diluted by the presence of many students—roughly half the class—who are not suited for an advanced course.The ostensible reasons for opening the AP to all are to encourage poor and minority students to reach higher and to close the “achievement gap.” The initiative has succeeded in the last ten years at more than doubling the number of students who take at least one AP course (up to 2.1 million in 2012).Because some students take exams in multiple subjects, the number of AP exams taken has also soared, from 1.2 million in 2002 to 2.9 million in 2012.But only 7.7 percent of test takers in English Literature and Composition were rated 5; 6.5 percent in Biology; 8.2 percent in Environmental Science; 8.6 percent in European History; and 11.0 percent in U. It is a good idea to keep these figures in mind for when we turn to the new U. It may well be looking to the new changes in the examinations themselves to generate a different picture. History exam, it is three hours and fifteen minutes long, divided between a 100-minute multiple-choice/short answer section and a 95-minute “free-response” section. History Exam was offered in 12,176 schools, mostly for 11 grade; and 6,837 others—a total of 442,890 test-takers.There are some other clues that point in this direction. The free-response section is divided between a section where the test-taker reads some documents and composes an essay that draws on them, and a “long essay” based on either of two questions provided by the exam. In 2012, the faculty of Dartmouth College voted to eliminate the practice of awarding academic credit for high performance on the AP exam, though it would still use the exams for “course placement for incoming students.” Dartmouth’s dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences explained, diplomatically, that the change was rooted in the belief that Dartmouth students would benefit from taking “full advantage of the faculty expertise and the unique academic resources” of the college.