Don't Count on College Credits For AP, IB Courses

(By Julie Zhu)
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By Jay Mathews
Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dear Extra Credit:

Why take International Baccalaureate or Advanced Placement courses? This topic has been and will continue to be debated for a long time. The ideal reason would be to take challenging courses. As a former AP teacher, present-day college instructor/AP grader and parent of a college sophomore who took five AP courses, I can see many reasons, many with merit. My high school offered AP and IB biology. At the time, AP aligned almost exactly with college biology 101-102 curricula, but IB did not. This might have changed.

It is unfortunate that Calder Stembel ["IB Students Deserve Some Credit," Nov. 27] feels shortchanged at George Washington University. Students should be warned that not all schools accept AP or IB test results for credit, and that it is not a good reason for taking the classes. It is more likely that a public college will accept AP for credit than a private school, as our daughter found out.

The Midwestern college at which she matriculated did not accept any of her AP courses, even though she received 5s. What was most annoying was that she took calculus BC (second course) in high school and was told that she still had to take a math class. It had to be calculus 3 or an equivalent, not a lower-level course, because she received a 5. Yet her major was in the foreign languages department, not engineering or something for which high-level calculus would be useful. Talk about being punished for doing well.

I hope that colleges will reevaluate their positions on accepting AP and IB credit. Thank you for trying to present balanced opinions on educational topics.

Nancey Parker

Howard Community College

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