Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Death of AP Exams?


How would the Queens High School of Teaching be different with AP exams? Do you think a trend going to be set by the Scarsdale School District of schools abandoning the AP exam? Is this going to make school "better"? Colleges and parents mentioned in the article seem to understand, how can Scarsdale get teachers to buy into this shift in assessment? How does the College Board defend its product?

(Click Here) to read today's NY Times Article.

33 comments:

Superfly said...

It is nearly impossible to envision the Queens High School for Teaching with AP classes and exams, probably because it would no longer be QHST. That amount of cooperative learning and stimulating accountable talk that goes on both inside and out of the cheery, yellow QHST walls is positively astounding and would almost certainly dwindle to a few quite comments under the stifling weight of covering a century every twenty minutes in history class.
It is a dearest hope of this writer, as an aspiring educator, that the example set by the Scarsdale School District, a highly reputable institution, will set a new trend in education which allows more room for teaching and learning than the current memorizing regimen that is followed by most traditional schools handing out AP classes.
This writer wonders why any educators even want to teach AP classes? Standing in front of a room of unengaged students, stuffing facts and dates down their throats with a funnel does not promote an intellectually stimulating environment for students or educators.
As a teacher I personally would be bored to pieces and I tend to think that the students would be as well. And as a student in QHST I feel like I already have more of a “head-start” for college than most of my AP-class-taking peers from other schools because we function in a similar fashion to what you would call the “real world”. We have stimulating conversations and cooperative learning which many AP class-ers do not have; skills which they will have to spend many years acquiring and learning to use.
Hopefully the College Board will realize that education and life-skills are far more important than money and that there are better ways of teaching and learning than attacking students with information and crippling them with standardized testing.

carolina high school senior said...

The Queens High School of Teaching would be completely different if it were for AP exams. Since our school currently revolves around mixed ability, the addition of AP courses would change our motive to learn to work with others that may be more challenged or smarter than us. I believe that as a result of Scarsdale school districts abandoning AP exams other schools will follow the trend because it is clear that if a highly recognized high school is getting rid of AP classes then there must be a justified reason behind it. If all schools follow this trend it would make education better in many aspects. First of all with out AP classes students wouldn’t feel as pressured to compete with each other. Those who already are brighter than others will excel in an average level class and have the opportunity to set an example for others and help those who need it. The high school experience should be about learning how to survive in the real world, building character, and learning to deal with a diverse range of people. The College Board however feels differently about abandoning AP exams saying “If you would survey all 12,000 A.P. U.S. History teachers, you would find maybe 100 of them who understand the scoring of exams,”. Parents, teachers and students have to understand that the College Board is a business and like all businesses aims to find different ways to get money out of people. According to most colleges it is clear that AP classes are rarely recognized, so why should students put themselves through the unnecessary stress and agony in their high school years?

vishnell said...

I strongly agree with the comment above from “superfly”. I can never imagine my school which is the Queens High School of Teaching with AP classes. I think that would make everything so awkward. We are already in this school that strongly promotes diversity so to individualize students in a class and saying they are better then others would loose the meaning to our school. I am glad that our school treats everyone equals and doest put people in classes that basically say certain students are better then others.
Having teachers such as most teachers in my school make me enjoy subjects I wasn’t too fond of before. I love being able to voice my opinions about the subject we are talking about in class. Being involved and hearing what your teachers and peers have to say about the matter being discussed makes you look at thing different and enjoy the lesson. In AP classes its notes and the teacher talking about a subject quickly so you can finish up and get to the next subject. Like the article we read in class said how a teacher stated “I remember we had this great conversation about Reconstruction and I said I am sorry, we have to go on to women’s suffrage”. The students looked at me and said “but we’re Fieldstone. We’re supposed to have the opportunity to have this kind of conversation.” I would honestly dread sitting in a class where I got taught things back and fourth in one period and didn’t understand anything. What’s the point of teaching if it’s done so fast and its all memorization? If anything I feel as thought AP classes are a disadvantage.
I also agree with what Carolina wrote in her comment about how students would be more pressured in an AP class. Students would feel bad if they were to go home to their parents and tell them they didn’t make it to an AP class when their friend or relative is. School would be worse, so much more work results into more stress and that’s the last thing you need as a teenager.

christine mullen the great said...

Being a QHST student I feel the way things are done here are fair and understanding. The fact that they wanted a change is very understandable.To be honest with you I never could understand why you can take one test to prove what you have been learning for the whole year in three hours or less. I would really like to know who felt that it would be o.k. for this nobody company (the college board)to come into schools and run things. They have no real idea of what goes in the classrooms.Because if they did they would know that the things on the test was omly a precentage which may not have even been the important percentage of what we've been learning.All their in it for is to make a buck and to make people feel that they need it to succeed.But really thats not the case. I feel the AP classes just provide a comfort zone for parents and children. For the parents it makes them feel as if their children are safe and their guaranteed to make it in life. Thats why the college board is making the money they make because they can provide people with the safety net everybody is looking to fall in to.

StepherZ h/s Seniorr '007 said...

As a Senior I feel it is a good thing that our schools offer AP courses. However, being a student in QHST, if there were AP courses I feel that would change our school completely! Our school is very diverse to begin with, so if we were to bring in AP classes to our course of study that would separate us even more! In AP classes you basically sit down and listen to your teacher babble on and on about useless topics. Many children take these classes just because it looks good on a college application or because it makes them feel smarter. I am thankful my school (QHST) does not offer these because if they did, our school will NEVER be the same. In my old school, which I attended to for two years (St. Mary’s High School, Manhasset NY) they did offer AP classes. And I remember to this day me talking to my friends and specifically saying “Oh I can’t wait until I’m a senior, so I can take AP Bio!!’’ That was the “thing” in that school. BUT again if our school offered it...it wouldn’t be the same. And for the College Board, I agree with Christine all they are looking for is to make a few dollars so they can boast on how great of a company they THINK they are! Another big group of the population that believes AP classes are good for us students is the parents. Many parents believe that if their son/daughter is taking any AP course of any kind they must be the top kids of their class. They feel they are better than everyone else which is totally not true! That’s how I feel

Zohra Ali High School Senior said...

High School Senior Zohra Ali,

I think that the Queens High School of Teaching would be very different with AP exams. I think not having AP classes and exams sets us aside from other schools who are taking away from the actual experience of school. I strongly feel that in the Queens High school of teaching, we a taste of the real world while getting to digest our curriculum better than other schools. Other schools who seem to follow the trend of AP class’s never seem to slow down and take a breather because they are always under pressure. Being under pressure of having to teach work and having to remember tons of information on a constant basis isn’t a proper education. I believe that in order for an education to be intellectual it doesn’t need to have tons of work and information that needs to be memorized, but have group talks, conversations and a mixture of ideas that come from the classmates. When students engage in a conversation, it brings out deeper thought process and problem solving because we are interested in what we learn. In a regular AP class, there would never be time to talk and discuss topics that strike students interests because the teacher is forced to throw out a curriculum that needs to be taught just to pass a pointless test. I think that Scarsdale School District took a brave move to abolish the wrath of the AP tests because it puts less stress on students and causes them to open up and look at the real world without the weight of a test on their shoulders. Taking away AP tests will almost defiantly make school better, because its not going to be a place to worry about passing a test and memorization but cause students to think and look at the world in ways that will prepare them for college and the real world. Teachers and parents need to buy into this shift in assessment because its time for change. They aren’t the ones who have to be prepared for the real world and have to be involved in thought provoked conversations with others. With the lack of conversations and discussions in classrooms teens wont learn to become more flexible in the real world, but just book worms who can only live if they are given the answer straight out from a book.

Kaitlyn- QHST senior said...

When we talked about AP courses in class everyone said that the teachers cram months of imformation into a couple classes and there is no discussions, but from what i've heard from friends that's not true. A lot of my friends take AP courses and they told me that they do have a lot of time for discussing the topics they learned about. They don't go as in depth as we do in our school, but their teachers don't try to cram a lot of imformation into their heads as Mr. Brown said they do. I don't think that schools necessarily need AP courses, but courses that fully engage a student and make them well-rounded. I mentioned that there have been many times when i wished i had a different class because kids with behavior problems took up the teachers time and we didn't learn much. I come to school for myself and only myself, i'm not there to help the person next to me get into college. If i could get rid of every kid in all my classes with behavior issues (which you don't see as many in AP courses) i would be very happy, because i'd know that we had a chance to learn just as much as kids in AP courses. I agree with what everyone said before me that our school would be very different with AP courses, but i think our school needs to work out the kinks that come with group work and mixed ability classes because they sometimes fail even if the administrators do not want to admit it. But for the classes that fail is it the students or the teachers fault? I don't have an answer for that but maybe someone else will. It was also mentioned in class how the regents exams that we take are just like AP courses in the aspect that we cram for a test that we have to pass and we sometimes run out of time for the discussions and group work that our school is known for. I agree with that because if you think about it they really are the same (cram and pass). I think that like getting rid of early decision, Scarsdale will have many other school districts following in its footsteps by getting rid of AP courses.

Superfly said...

In response to Kate's comment about getting rid of kids with behavior issues and going to school only for herself, isn't helping the kid next to you helping yourself as well? Is that not the whole premise of QHST? For students to not learn solely from the teacher? Are we not supposed to be teaching and learning each other as well?

~joanna vogel

nyshee l QHST senior said...

Q.H.S.T wouldn't be the same. THe school is base on helping one other and commucation to the teachers and enjoying our high school lives. Since in scarsdale schools was base on the ap classes the district and parents are not going to agree on this but are going to have to deal with so there child can go to school and get a education. college board defends this product because of the education and to real life skills so than the money and college board can take money from you like taking candy from a baby.

high school senior Corrie R said...

Being a senior at the Queens High School of Teaching I can not imagine having AP courses and exams given at my school. If there were the whole character and uniqueness of this school would be tainted. At the Queens High School of Teaching there is a diverse environment, whether it is race, religion, culture, and intelligence. At QHST (Queens High School of Teaching) you get a good sense about how to deal with people. If we had AP courses you wouldn’t get that because you aren’t around a big mix of different people, in the real world you will encounter different people and you will need to learn how to cope with them. At QHST you feel as an equal because everyone gets treated with the same amount of respect, not just the “smart” ones. I also believe that AP courses can be boring. Who wants to hear a teacher go on and on throwing nothing but facts and dates at you? I know I don’t. In order for me to focus in class I need class discussion or class interaction and you don’t get that in an AP class. I also believe that I am just as prepared for college as any AP student just from the lessons we learn in class. Many colleges don’t even look at AP courses and exams so why stress yourself in high school save that for college.


I also think that the College Board shouldn’t have the right to tap into a teacher’s lesson and tell the teacher what the students should be learning in class. As Carolina and Christine said they are (College Board) is a business and is just worried about the money they’re going to get not the education of the students.

Peter High School senior said...

If the Queens High School of Teaching gave AP™ exams, it wouldn’t be the school as we know it. The school itself would be segerated. The smart people on one side and the not-so- smart on the other side. Their wouldn’t be any interactions between the two groups. The problem with this is that when you finish school and your out in the real world you won’t always find people as smart as you. In fact the majority of the people outside of the school won’t be as smart as you are. If this was the case you would not know how to communicate with them. On the other hand if the qhst is what it is today you would have people with mixed abilities in your class and you would get an opportunity to interact with others. I agree with Johana since we do have a head start for the real world because our classes are diverse. I think that since the Scarsdale School District is abandoning their AP™ exams a pattern will form because Scarsdale is a highly regarded school; if one popular school is abandoning AP™ exams, everyone will try to follow in its footsteps to be popular as well. I don’t think that school will necessarily be better. It will still be the same and their will be other programs to replace the AP™ exams, so nothing would really change.

Ms. Mayo said...

Great discussion. And just the fact that we're having it sets us apart from many schools.

As a parent of a kid that took AP classes (and I have the many cancelled checks from the College Board to prove it), I have mixed feelings on all of this. I think Kaitlyn was right in that we need to resist the temptation to make everything into black and white, right and wrong, good and bad. Like every other decision we make in teaching, there are positives and negatives to both sides and we choose the one that feels more positive at the same time that we give up something else.

That said, I just got a letter in the mail saying that my daughter is an "AP Scholar." This means that she scored a 3 or higher on 3 or more AP exams. Pretty impressive, right? But...she got a D on her first composition in her freshmen college English class. So the distinction of AP Scholar has little to do with the reality of college.

My daughter just told me that she got an 80 on a psychology test (psychology is her major, and she got a 4 on the AP psych test). While she was surprised by the low grade, she also said that AP Psych was more about memorizing facts, while the college course is more about understanding concepts. Hmmm...she may have been better prepared for this at QHST.

Lori Mayo

~RitaMarie~ said...

I still agree with Kaitlyn. As we spoke about in class, we are forced to sit in groups, which means that even if an assignment was not a group effort to begin with, it will turn into one. It is impossible to avoid that especially when you have 4 people sitting on top of each other. Also, when teachers put their students in groups there is ALWAYS the one student who is such a perfectionist that they don't trust the other members and refuses to depend on the 3 other members and therefore does all of the work them self. In almost all of my classes, I despise the groups that I have been put into. I feel that with AP classes it would separate those who really want to work from those who just want to sit in the group knowing that they at least won't fail due to the one member who takes the project into his/her own hands. I don't think that AP should be offered as a complete schedule, but I do think that some students would benefit from one or two AP classes put into their schedule so that they can be around people who also like to take the initiative and get things done to their best potential rather than being the one who gives the entire group their grade due to one persons work.

Zilber QHST SENIOR said...

I believe that the textbook smart era of learning is coming to a close end. It seems as if more and more schools every day are grasping the fact that A.P. exams arent as essential as they were once seemed to be and groupwork is taking over. "People nationwide are recognizing what an inhuman obstacle course college asmission is, and a big element of that is A.P.," said Bruce Hammond. This is whats going on and its becoming more and more evident as a top notch school like Scarsdale High dropped their A.P. classes.
I dont believe that theres anyone on this page to disagree with probably because we all go to the same school so a question to everyone else, one parent said "A.P. is a benchmark", so whats that saying for the students who arent in A.P.?

Josh, High School Senior said...

I feel that a school that has advanced placement courses places a lot of negative pressure on an entire school. The students in the course feel the responsibility of being overacheivers and the students outside of these courses feel somewhat inadequate. The Queens High School of Teaching would not be what it is today if we had AP courses. This would be hypocritical to our philosophy of equality. I do feel that Scarsdale has created a trend by eliminating these courses, since it is such an acclaimed educational institution, other school will look to it for an example of a successful facility. I do feel that elimintating the courses will make the school better because it will make everyone feel equal. I am glad to see that such a stellar school is taking the steps towards doing what would be best for the student body, instead of what would be better for the school politically.

[[ GiO ]] said...

If the Queens High School Of Teachings had “AP classes”, honestly I can never picture our school with those classes but to tell you the truth if our school had those classes I think everything would be different. Like everyone in school and everything in school wouldn’t be the same. The way our school is, I know I am going to be able to benefit everything I was taught in this school, the mix diversity in this school, the way I get to have classes with kids with disabilities, it’s like I see everyone the same now. Everyone in my school is on the same level no one is smarter than another student, if the AP classes were there then everything would be different everyone would be separated. People with disabilities would be in another room, students that don’t do good in school would be in one room, students that do well in school would be in another room and straight A’s students would be in there own world. Thank god that our school is the way it is because everyone that leaves from our school is going to know how to fit in to every crowd, crowds with mix diversity’s, crowds with people that are disabilities. A lot of kids aren’t pressured going to be pressured the same way everyone in other schools are because they don’t have to be competing for something. There is a lot less stress because we don’t have those classes. Students in “Scarsdale High School” parents might be disappointed but all those parents do is try to see whose kid is number one that’s why the students have a lot of stress. Unfortunately the parents aren’t happy because now I cant say my kid is number one well if they aren’t happy because of that then their kids should try out for a sports team. Other than that its good that they don’t have AP classes, because there is going to be a lot less stress in students lives now.

High school junior said...

The Queens High School of Teaching will be absolutely different only if it subsists for AP exams. AP class wouldn’t make our school inclusive and it would only profit agile students. AP classes would change the whole purpose of our school. Some colleges don’t even take a student’s AP credits into consideration while enrolling a student. I concur with superfly and Kaitlyn. QHST is a diverse high school where people with mixed ability collaborate and AP class would separate this collaboration. AP tests only examine your ability to memorize facts. AP class would inundate students with projects, homework, test etc. Since, it is a college level course it might reduce a bright student’s academic performance. I agree with Josh said about Scarsdale School District establishing an inclination for other high schools. This would prevent pressure on students and also lessen the tension in a student’s mind. AP class has less group work and more individual work. Our school wouldn’t be unique if we have AP classes. I also agree with Corrie who said about foregathering people with other singularities and about the necessity to collaborate. If our school has AP classes the outcome will not be satisfying.
Anish Desai

Jason Mangubat hs senior said...

QHST would be different with AP exams because students will be challenged. There must be justified in order to reason it. The addition of AP courses would have to change our motive by learning and working with others that maybe more aggressive towards achieving more education or smarter than us. Although more students will follow the trend set by Scarsdale High School to abandon AP courses, it is still worth a try for QHST to give students a chance and try for several years and see if it will help the students or not.

W Brown said...

Thanks for the insightful conversation. I cannot wait to share this with other teachers.

laurenA said...

I would not mind having AP classes in our school but i do agree that if we did, it would change the school a great deal. I like having classes with students who have more knowledge of the subject or less. I can learn from other students or they can ask me for help. Not only do i learn the facts but i learn communication skills, teaching skills and see different peoples perspectives. Before i came to this school I heard that parents were complaining that there were no AP classes. I was ecstatic when i heard this news. Knowing that we would all be equal and we could all be in mixed classes was something new for me being that my junior highschool had advanced classes and split the school up based on learning ability.

Anonymous said...

i like not having AP classes because people with different levels of knowledge can help eachother learn better in group work. It allows everyone to work together and builds a better sense of community, which is what makes QHST, QHST.

Valerie G

Avalon Pogue-Mohammed said...

In my opinion, I believe that having AP courses would benefit students preparing for college. I also believe that AP courses would allow us to further our education and allow us to prepare. But being a senior in The Queens High School Teaching, it would break our connections with one another. In our high school, the students are very close to one another. If AP courses were to soon be available, the students would be segregated from one another. It not only breaks the student's bond from one another, it may also intimidate certain students, and discourage them from the courses.

Anonymous said...

I think that AP courses should definitely be enforced at the Queens High School of Teaching. The reason we can't imagine QHST with AP courses is because we never had it to begin with. Almost every high school in America offers AP courses. And, one of the first things colleges ask for is what AP courses you took. As for making students feel less smart and whatever, if they wanted to be in an AP class, they should work hard for it, just like the students thta do take up AP classes. And in every school, there are always certain students that are brighter than others;that is just how life goes. Just because certain students are working up to their ability, the students that actuallya re shouldn't be punished.
Jaicy George

Alyssa Faller said...

When applying for colleges, and having to fill out many applications and forms, it is hard not to have taken any AP classes. Since there is a serpearte section on applications for what AP classes you have taken, people might think that that they get looked at different because they have never taken any AP classes. But when it comes down to QHST having Ap classes, i don't know if our school would be a good enviornment to have them. Because our school is set up to have equal classes up until you graduate, it would not work if there were classes that serpearted the more advanced students. Even though i think that having AP classes would be a great learnining experience, and a more diffiuclt way to be pushed academically, i think that in the way QHST is run, it would never work.

Anonymous said...

i was readin the last comment that from Laurena. I had the same thought as her when she first came into the school,everyone was going to be equal people that now a lot and people that not now much. I personally enjoy most of my classes because i get to expirience the diffence between being a good student and being a not so good.I think that we shouldnt have AP exams or classes because it woulnt be fair to others that are not that advance.

Jenifer

DAnny Lennon said...

I feel that AP clases and exams are a good way for students to test them selfs. if they can score well on an AP exam, then they should have no problem on a regular regence. Taking AP clase gives a student more information in a given subject. It is said that AP clases speed through the information and people may not fully understand all of what they need to before the teacher moves on. But i think that is a student is willing to take AP clases, they should be able to keep up.

ChrissyL said...

AP classes may seem like a biased division of students, but I believe that they would be essential in many ways. I came from Holy Trinity Dioscesan High School, in regular classes. Before that, I came from New Hyde Park Memorial High School; with AP classes. I was in regular classes and did not feel overwhelmed with the amount of work or that I was in the wrong situation. Being in this school, I feel that there is more of a competitive atmosphere. Recieving a poor grade when sitting next to someone who has done a far better job than me, is like a kick to the shins.
Groups are a bit of a drag, as well. In a table where there is an over-achiever, slacker, and a person somewhere in between, all responsibilty is left for the over-achiever. It really does not work well.

Anonymous said...

I think that having AP classes would allow those more serious in doing work to learn more.
In QHST,there are many classes that have been paused,even if only for a short amount of time because some people were acting up.
On that same note, when doing projects, teachers like to think that the lesser apt students are being influenced in a good way by the more apt students when sometimes, it's really having the opposite effect.

However, haveing people with mixed abilities in the same class allows people to learn how to deal with it, since it's very likely to happen at a career later in life.

-Maya

Anonymous said...

I think that "Death of Ap Exams" is not a good thing as a student of Queens HIgh School of teaching because, i think that all students need challenges and that challenge is from AP classes or exams. Ap exams/classes are giving us a good heads up in life and it gets us ready for college. IT might be hard but it is a good thing for every student!


-Manpreet Walia-

Anonymous said...

I feel that ap classes wouldn’t be as beneficial as many may think. Although it would challenge the kids who are academically superior, what will happen to all the kids that aren’t? Is it fair to a teacher to have a class full of academically challenged students? If so, wouldn’t it be more efficient to have a student of a higher intelligence level be there to help and assist with any problems. AP classes would also add unnecessary stress to students. You take ap classes to just take a test but that all you do it for. You work nonstop without play which isn’t fair to you and creates an unbalanced student.

andrea D

Alaka Pathak...it's my birthday...class 07 said...

Honestly if anyone asked me couple of years ago, i would tell them that do i agree with A.P. classes. I would tell them yes because i did. When i enterted QHST i saw otherwise. I learned that A.P. isn't evertyhing. In the article it said that more then 1 millions kids take A.P. classes every year so what is the big deal.

Natasha B! QHST 07! said...

I agree with LaurenA. If there were AP classes here I would apply to take them, but I find that schools can be better without them. Releasing students from the stress of AP exams and classes opens up a new area for growth. Students here at QHST are able to grow in more ways pass academic standards. Students here are able to express all their many talents and skills. AP exams may cause a divison within a peer learning environment, which would defeat the whole purpose of QHST lifestyle!!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Corrie R and the fact that Advance Placement, wouldnt be of a good idea, hence the teaching concept of Queens High School of Teaching. I feel that AP courses/classes really aren't necessary in terms of placeng students in certain levels of classes, based on what they know or how advanced they are in their school work. I believe that having the students all on one level and having a mixture of students in one class would actually benefit students by engaging and interacting with one another and also helping the ones who dont quickly grasp concepts easily. I also feel that having AP courses would in fact have other students feeling left out, and un-encouraged. ~!Patrina M!~