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Opinion: AP Teachers Shouldn’t Hold Back on Challenging Work With ‘AP Lite'

Opinion: AP Teachers Shouldn’t Hold Back on Challenging Work with ‘AP Lite'

According to Washington Post columnist and veteran education reporter Jay Matthews, holding back on challenging Advanced Placement (AP) work to prevent students from failing is called AP Lite, and it does more harm than good.

The biggest different between AP Lite and the traditional AP course, Matthews said, is the end-of-the-year AP test.

"As far as I know, no attempt at AP Lite has succeeded. Such courses lack the key element of the AP program — final exams, written and graded by outside experts, that cannot be dumbed down by good-hearted teachers,” Matthews said.

By removing the culminating test from advanced courses, Matthews argues that all students, even the ones who would have failed, suffer.

Without a big, final exam for AP teachers to teach to with challenging tests, quizzes and essays, students are not being held to the high standards they can expect to face in higher education.

Matthews looks at the AP experiment in D.C., where all high schools are now required to offer at least six AP courses for its students with an increase to eight next year.

He cautions the city’s influencers to not freak out over potentially low test scores- especially in the poorest D.C. schools that might have no students passing the AP exams at all.

So long as D.C. can avoid giving into the temptation of creating ‘AP Lite,’ Matthews says it will be able to use the experiment to best prepare its students for the future moving forward.

" If the District’s new AP expansion can avoid such malpractice, it will be an improvement, no matter what the final exam scores are.”

Read Matthews’ full post.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

11/16/2015

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