By Sam Elliott | Staff Writer
In 2014, 4,135,962 Advanced Placement tests were taken across the nation. By receiving a score of three or higher on an AP exam, a student can potentially save hundreds of dollars on college courses. The AP program not only helps students with credit that can go toward their undergraduate degree, but also presents more challenging courses in which students can grow and develop.
Colleges look at student’s schedules, and typically, if a student has had a rigorous course load, it may help the applying student get accepted.
The number of AP tests taken and number of AP students has dramatically grown due to competition among applicants as well as College Board’s advertising for the program.
The AP courses provide better indications of the rigor of the courses the student can take in college. As college admissions officers have placed more emphasis on the rigor of the student’s classes, including AP classes, the number of students taking the exams and courses has increased.
Along with the effect of college admissions that has helped the AP program grow, the College Board has helped to increase awareness of the AP program. More schools offer AP courses to their students and some offer it to freshmen. At Pearce, the AP Ambassadors program aids in providing information to younger students about enrolling in AP classes.
AP courses have been advertised to prospective students and parents as challenging courses that will help students grow. As a way to get college credit, the difficulty level is congruent because of the class. The class itself is basically the same class that college freshman will take, although sometimes the same course is given over a whole year rather than a semester.
As a result of the challenging nature of the class, students who take AP classes are more likely to finish their degree in four years because of their introduction to more rigorous courses.
Critics of the AP exams point to the fact that students who fail the test have learned little and that those students should not be in the course. One must consider other skills, besides the knowledge of the subject, that the student might have gained, such as organization, leadership skills and prioritization of tasks.
AP courses have much larger work loads, which helps students learn how to use their time effectively and is a useful tool for courses at the college level. The number of projects in AP courses help students learn how to work cohesively to achieve a goal as they learn cooperative skills that will help them throughout life.
A bill currently sits in the Texas House which, if passed, would require all state schools to accept scores of 3 or above on AP tests. The passing of the bill would have major implications on students who are attending public schools in Texas. This would allow more students to be eligible for AP credit and save money on that pricey college tuition.