News outlets and blogs across the Metro Atlanta area are touting that the College Board and GA DOE are recognizing DeKalb County Schools as having “17 High Schools placed on the state and national Advanced Placement (AP) honors lists”.
Unfortunately, this “honors list” is the equivalent to a participation trophy. It’s really just a “thank you” note to the school district for spending so much money with The College Board.
These awards are based on enrollment and not academic achievement. If no teacher ever showed up to a single AP class and every student failed every AP exam, sixteen of those seventeen high schools listed would still have been named 2017 AP Honors Schools.
AP Classes in South DeKalb were an EPIC FAILURE this past year.
The 2017 AP Honors Schools are named in six categories
- AP Challenge Schools are schools with enrollments of 900 or fewer students and students testing in four of the core areas (English, math, science, and social studies).
- AP Access and Support Schools are schools with at least 30 percent of the AP exams taken by Black or Hispanic students and 30 percent of students passed with a 3 or higher.
- AP Merit Schools are schools with at least 20 percent of the total student population taking AP exams and at least 50 percent of all AP exams earning scores of 3 or higher.
- AP STEM Schools are schools with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses (AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2, AP Physics C, AP Computer Science A).
- AP STEM Achievement Schools are schools with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses and at least 40 percent of exam scores on AP math and science exams earning scores of 3 or higher.
- AP Humanities Schools are schools with students testing in the following AP courses: at least one ELA course, two social science courses, one fine arts course and one world language course.
It appears to me that citing statistics on how many students are enrolled in AP courses has become a trendy but useless metric. What does that number really tell us? It certainly isn’t an indicator of the quality of education or achievement. At best, it is giving people a false sense of progress and success at their school. At worst, it undermines instruction in both AP and non-AP classes.
Mar 2, 2017 – March 3, 2017 – Whoop De Doo – 2017 Advanced Placement Honor Schools
Feb 21, 2017 – Feb 21, 2017 – EPIC FAILURE – AP Classes in South DeKalb
Mar 6, 2016 – March 7, 2016 – Board approves Purchase of AP Exam for all students
Mar 6, 2016 – AP Exams – Tax Dollars