Tag Archives: ap courses

Welcome to the Profit of Education website. Continuing the conversation begun in the book Profit of Education, we discuss the latest economic evidence on education reform.

Tracking and segregation

The Atlantic has a good article on the Department of Education’s attempts to reduce racial segregation induced by tracking. The fact is that, minority students are a lot less likely to end up taking advanced classes than are white students. … Continue reading

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Are you allowed to take AP courses?

I’ve put together a couple of pictures on the availability of AP courses to students in high schools. Over a third of schools do not offer AP courses. Two thirds of charter schools don’t offer AP courses. What surprised me … Continue reading

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2 Responses to Are you allowed to take AP courses?

  1. Whenever you’re wondering about school policies, you really need to break it down into those basic categories:

    90-1005 URM schools, charter or comprehensive, that commit fraud because the bulk of their students are operating at 8th grade ability or lower.

    Title I suburban schools that are 50-65% URM, but with a solid population of high ability, high performing whites or Asians. They can’t commit fraud, but they can’t track because of lawsuits.

    Homogeneous suburban schools, predominantly white or Asian. They can track, and if they have URMs, they just relegate them to the lower track. Not enough of them to sue.

    Majority minority schools not only allow, but in the case of charter schools require everyone to take AP. That’s because it’s an easy way for them to qualify for Jay Mathew’s Challenge Index. Moreover, since all the students are low ability, the teachers can teach anything they like, give the kids As even if they have sixth grade abilities (quite common), and basically commit fraud.

    Title I suburban schools with large URM population are pretty much forced to offer open enrollment, because otherwise they get sued or otherwise blamed for racial disparities. In fact, they often target black or Hispanic kids and do a full court press to convince them to sign up for AP. These are the schools that are often forced to lower standards and quality of instruction to avoid failing all the URMs they convinced to take the course.

    Rich or homogenous (white or Asian) suburban schools require students to test into AP, or set a GPA requirement, or teacher recommendation. Thus, they routinely deny high ability kids access to the weighted GPA and resume-boosting AP classes despite the fact that practically everyone applying to these courses are more skilled than the URM kids in the open or forced enrollment classes.

    I don’t know why these high ability, homogeneous suburban schools just don’t open more AP classes, but I suspect it’s because they want a clear rating/ranking of their students.

  2. Glynis says:

    That question isn’t particularly clear, though. Look at what Garfield has to say about it: “AP courses are open to any and all
    students who have completed the necessary pre-requisites,
    and not all AP courses have pre-requisites.” Which sounds like students can self select, except it depends on whether “any” in the survey question means ‘all’ or ‘at least one’. In the latter, Garfield allows self selection, and the former, it doesn’t.

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Lot’s of different AP courses

I was mildly surprised, pleasantly surprised, at how many AP courses are offered in many schools. Among those schools that offer at least one AP course, the average numbered offered is 10 and the median is 8. One amusing tidbit for … Continue reading

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