According to a new survey by the Fordham Institute, the number of students enrolled in AP exams has increased by 50%. Teachers surveyed believe that the reasons most students are pursuing these courses is to enhance college essay applications, instead of seeking the challenge and intellectual rigor that such courses provide. Teachers surveyed said that 56% of students overestimate their abilities in class and are “in over their heads.” In addition, 60% of teachers said that parents push their children into these classes when they often don’t have the basic foundation required to well.

Interestingly, this survey comes at a time of great debate about raising the lowest performing students while challenging those who are able to perform best scholastically. According to Dr. Robert Sternberg, for students to do well in the world they need analytical, creative and practical intelligence. Right now, the push for the AP courses emphasize analytical intelligence, but if we don’t ask those same students to develop their practical knowledge and their creative framework they will be marching through assignments and tests without mastering deeper learning. This creates students who care more about college applications than knowledge, students who care more about beating the system than truly learning from it and graduates who eventually cut quality corners in the world of work, adding no extra value and often draining an organization’s profitability.

New York Times
by Jacques Steinberg
A survey of more than 1,000 teachers of Advanced Placement courses in American high schools has found that more than half are concerned that the program’s effectiveness is being threatened as districts loosen restrictions on who can take such rigorous courses and as students flock to them to polish their résumés.

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