Class Struggle: Advanced Placement


Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 05/24/2012

Schools with many APs but few passing

I created a special category of schools with many AP tests but low passing rates. Are they getting better?

By Jay Mathews  |  05:00 AM ET, 05/24/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:00 PM ET, 09/26/2010

High school barred average students from AP

Flowers High School in Prince George's County was one of the few schools in the Washington area refusing to let average students challenge themselves in an Advanced Placement course. Students were told this year that AP English, biology, American history, calculus and most of the other college-level courses at the school were open only to those with at least a 3.0 grade point average. They also had to have written permission from a teacher.

By Jay Mathews  |  07:00 PM ET, 09/26/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 07/15/2010

The untruth about International Baccalaureate

I haven't read everything on truthaboutib.com, but enough to report, somewhat to my surprise, that it is pretty good. Its raging paranoia about IB being a threat to American values and U.S. sovereignty is completely divorced from reality, but compared with other overheated ideological Web sites, it is remarkably fair, even balanced in a few places.

By Jay Mathews  |  06:00 PM ET, 07/15/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 04/18/2010

Principal tells ninth-graders to study, or leave

I was surprised when Charlie Thomas, principal of Crossland High School in Prince George’s County, began sending me emails. His school has been one of the worst in a low-performing district for a long time. But Thomas, who arrived in 2004, was trying to improve his school and was willing even to deal with a fault-finding columnist if it would help. Nearly 66 percent of his students were low-income, but he was not going to let that slow him down. I confess he has gotten my attention with some unusual moves.

By Jay Mathews  |  10:00 PM ET, 04/18/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:30 AM ET, 02/05/2010

Readers question Challenge Index

Q. The downside not discussed is that from 1989 to 2009, the percentage of AP exams earning a 1 (lowest score) has doubled, from 10% to 20%. Over that same period, the mean score declined from just over 3 to 2.89. This tells me a lot of kids are being pushed into a AP classes for which they aren't ready or motivated.

By Jay Mathews  |  05:30 AM ET, 02/05/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:30 AM ET, 12/11/2009

Finally some sense about 21st century skills--part two, the Wagner book

Then comes his "Schools That Work" chapter, a remarkable piece of education reporting. He describes, based on long visits, two of the most important public school models in the country for more effective teaching, particularly students without the natural academic skills that get the most praise. These are High Tech High, a growing network of project-based-learning schools born in San Diego, and the Big Picture Company, an even larger network of schools designed to teach students through internships that began in Providence, R.I. This part of the book is a must read.

By Jay Mathews  |  05:30 AM ET, 12/11/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:03 PM ET, 12/01/2009

How to raise minority participation in Advanced Placement

My colleague Nelson Hernandez reports on the extraordinary progress Montgomery County has made raising both participation and success in college-level courses in high school. Black and Hispanic students in the county are also doing significantly better on AP tests...

By Jay Mathews  |  04:03 PM ET, 12/01/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:30 AM ET, 11/27/2009

Should we inflate Advanced Placement grades?

Erin McVadon Albright, the IB coordinator at Annandale High School in Fairfax County, said the extra grade point for IB was a powerful inducement for one of her most intriguing students. He came from a low-income family that did not even have an Internet connection at home. He wanted to play football, which meant he had to take a government class online over the summer to have time for IB. He was using the computer at the office where his mother was a receptionist, but she was afraid someone would complain. He almost dropped the course until Albright managed to lend him a school laptop which he could take the public library to do his work.

By Jay Mathews  |  05:30 AM ET, 11/27/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:44 PM ET, 07/13/2009

Metro Monday: Should High Schools Bar Average Students From College-Level Courses and Tests?

Fifteen years ago, when I discovered that many good high schools prevented average students from taking demanding courses, I thought it was a fluke, a mistake that would soon be rectified. I had spent much time inside schools that...

By Washington Post Editors  |  03:44 PM ET, 07/13/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:12 AM ET, 07/07/2009

Admissions 101: Are Low Grades in AP/IB Classes Better than High Grades in Regular Classes?

A few weeks ago, Jay Mathews asked readers a tough question in his Admissions 101 - which is better: an A or B in a regular course or a C in a more challenging course like an AP or IB class? Jay sided with AP, saying that all students interested in tier 1 or tier 2 schools should take at least 2 AP or IB courses. Even if that means a C on a high school transcript, Jay argued, colleges will appreciate a student who is willing to take on a challenge. Reader reactions have been pouring in ever since:

By Sarah Mimms  |  11:12 AM ET, 07/07/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 06/12/2009

Shocker! Some Teachers Like AP for All

When I got to work Monday, I was certain I was about to be pummeled by e-mails telling me what an idiotic column I had written that day praising high schools that were trying to get everyone, even struggling students,...

By Washington Post editors  |  06:00 AM ET, 06/12/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:19 AM ET, 06/09/2009

New Challenge Index Twist: Catching Up

Newsweek unveils its 2009 America’s Top High Schools list today, all online. About 1,500 schools, the most ever, will be ranked by participation rates on college-level exams, particularly Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Cambridge. I invented Newsweek’s and the Washington...

By Washington Post editors  |  03:19 AM ET, 06/09/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:23 PM ET, 05/20/2009

Would Schools Be Better Off If Fewer or More Students Took AP Tests?

A little while ago, Jay called for schools to allow more students to take Advanced Placement tests. The column has spurred an ongoing conversation between Jay and the Assorted Stuff blog. Here's Assorted Stuff's latest post (with two minor edits):...

By Washington Post Editors  |  02:23 PM ET, 05/20/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)