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Old 11-16-2007, 01:09 PM   #21
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I just retired from teaching after 35 years. I taught A.P. U.S. history for 25 years and served as an A.P. (College Board) exam "reader" for a couple of years. A.P. is tough to teach because you have these young kids who have incredible minds.

A.P. should be a great experience for a kid. Unfortunately, many teachers terrorize kids and assign ridiculous hours of homework. A.P. is their entire life so they try to make it the kids entire life. Never sign up for an A.P. course just for the prestige or the credit-- take the courses that you find of interest.

An hour a night of homework in A.P. is plenty - if the teacher organizes the course correctly. An hour may seem excessive but it IS a college course. Class work should include simulations, group activities, involvement in contests, etc. that are meaningful. I usually had around 70% of my kids scoring 4 or 5 so I think my methods worked- I did teach in a great school district. I really loved teaching A.P.
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Old 11-16-2007, 01:21 PM   #22
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I took 4 AP classes in my senior year of high school:
Econ, Calc, Statistics, and Physics

However, I only took the Econ AP exam (Micro and Macro). My teacher was tough, but incredible because I ended up with a 3 and 4 score on the exams without studying anything additional than he required for the class.

Fast forward to the state university where they accepted the 6 credits. It aided me in finishing the my engineering degree in 4 years. Which nowadays, is becoming less common. Plus Calc I was a breeze! The AP classes were definitely worth it, but the right balance is key.
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Old 11-16-2007, 01:24 PM   #23
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I would agree with some of last points made

1) AP should be done because of interest
2) many teachers make school less fun because of amount of homework they assign
3) AP courses should not be equated to the college experience.

MY college professors were all much smarter than my HS teachers. Whether calc, physics, chem or whatever. Both knew my name (college classes were smaller than my HS classes), both taught well. But the examples given gave a clear edge to the college profs. The college experience has a value no AP course could compete with- plus college girls were cuter than the HS girls, so more reason to attend the college course anyway.
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Old 11-16-2007, 01:35 PM   #24
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Re: AP classes versus same class in college

I know I got a lot more out of my HS AP classes than what my classmates reported getting out of the same classes in college. For one thing, the instructors spoke fluent english, something that you probably won't experience too much at many universities when you take introductory physics, calculus/diff eq and chemistry courses. Although maybe not understanding anything the prof says and then learning it on your own IS the way to prepare for a successful college career?
I would agree this is an issue with Engineering- too often I see people which live life in acadamia when looking at some schools. Meaning there are some people with phd's which choose to teach because the real world is too tough, too demanding.

If choosing an engineering college, you should ask what courses are taught by professors and which courses are taught by graduate students. In my case I asked these questions as a HS senior and made some real good choices.

My university did not have much of a graduate program, so all professors were required to teach 3 of 4 semesters per year. And teach 3 courses per active semester, and teach 4 days per week. If the course they taught was 3 credits, they filled in on a lab for another course on the 4th day. The only times I remember getting a grad student as a professor was for labs, and it doesn't take too much to teach how to do a sand casting or run a mill or lathe for machine shop. My freshman chem was around 50 students, freshman calc was around 30 students. By time I was a junior, some classes were as small as 15 students. Student:faculty ratio was around 7:1 on most brochures.

I had friends at other schools (IVY league, state schools) and I heard stories of 500 students in freshman chem and freshman calc being taught by a grad student. My wife went to state school for HR, and she spoke about large classes with grad students as well. Faculty ratios at these schools borders on 50:1.

The low ratio might mean small classes in some cases... in my case it meant lots of specialty classes (I took a class in adhesive technology as a senior and in tool wear as a junior)- Maybe other schools have these classes, but the point is a large faculty will allow for diverse courses.
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Old 11-16-2007, 02:55 PM   #25
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My senior year I took three AP classes, Calc I, Physics, and Civics. They all required work but not more than an hour each a day. I ended up getting a 4 on Civics and Calc and then a 3 in Physics. The AP English teacher talked to me about taking the AP English class my junior and senior year, but I declined since I don't like English.

The college I went to gave me I think 12 total hours for these courses. This will help me be able to earn a Finance and Accounting degree in four years. Overall it was a good experience but balance is key.
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Old 11-16-2007, 04:11 PM   #26
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Our daughter was in High School in Hawaii in 1984. We met with her math teacher and she told us 'We have determined your daughter will not be attending college so she will not be taking Algebra.' We also learned that 9th graders took something called 'Core Math' if they did not do well they would take 'Advanced Math', if they did not do well 'Core Algebra' if they did not do well, 'Algebra'. They would then "have 4 years of math and could graduate" and if they desire go to college.
A decade ago a shipmate of ours begged the Navy aviation assignment officer to transfer him from Norfolk to Hawaii (which was happily granted) just so that his son could apply for USNA from an area where he'd stand out among the crowd. He wasn't exactly academically challenged in Hawaii high schools-- he spent most of his senior year applying and interviewing, not so much studying or doing homework. But it worked like a charm.

So I think Hawaii has taken its old academic-inferiority complex a little too far to the other side of the pendulum swing. One of my kid's acquaintances is starting her pre-med college program... at the end of her junior year in high school. She's already well past the high school credit requirements and as a sophomore was a semi-finalist at both the Siemens & Intel national science fairs. I hope she's as mature as she is talented and "smart".

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Sounds to me like you are making an excellent choice. I took AP calculus and chemistry in high school, just so I could loaf my first semester at college, but it was nowhere near as much work as you describe.
My kids are only in 2nd / 6th grade, but I'm a firm believer in school being only a portion of an education. 3 to 4 hours of homework a night is just B.S. if you ask me. Life is more important, get out of those books and get some experiences instead.
We've learned to network the heck out of the parents with kids a year or two older than ours. There are major decisions in middle school affecting high school pre-requisites, qualification testing for advanced programs, and summer-school options. Little things like picking the "wrong" middle-school math course will send ripples across four years of H.S.

Last night (our 3rd & final night of presentations) we were talking with another parent whose daughter is a senior (two years ahead of our kid) and we got a huge dump on "AP-related stress syndrome". The anti-academic backlash in their house has been pretty fearsome. Their younger daughter has also dropped out of Kumon for a couple months to catch up on her coursework.

Paully, I agree with your comments about organized teachers and terrorizing the students to "motivate" them. Or maybe now I'm just allergic to drill-instructor teaching methods.

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Think back, did *anything* you do back in high school really matter diddly squat once you were out in the real world?
Yes, but I'm sober now!

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Here's my main concern - she's only a sophomore in hgih school right now - there's still a lot of growing up to do for her, let alone what will occur in college. Plus, if she's interested in engineering, the college curricula for an engineering degree currently tends to try and squeeze a 5 year program into 4 years and frankly there are not many opportunties for 'deviation' from the plan. Case in point - I had a 4-year ROTC scholarship more than twenty years ago and my school did not allow my ROTC classes (which take up 3 credit hours a semester) to count towards my degree. That was an extra 20 credit hours or so that was required by the Air Force ROTC program but did not count towards my engineering degree. It also cut short my time to explore other areas like philosophy, geography, psychology, etc - also, the list of 'approved out of the science, math and engineering curricula classes which were allowed for matriculation' was very short. Bottom line, she's going to be doing a grind in a very specific area in college - plus if she has a ROTC scholarship, they will be all over her to become more involved with 'leadership opportunities' and to *finish* in those four years. Let her have some fun now and be a girl still - besides, based on what you've described and assuming she maintains that trajectory, she will have a humongous amount of college acceptance opportunities from which to choose.
Yeah, exactly. Last summer she was talking to the NROTC COs about their college's architecture programs, which mostly run five years and include a year in Italy. They were soberly nodding their heads and assuring her that the Navy would have no problem paying her for an extra year of that study, when both my spouse & I caught each other's eyes thinking "Oh sure right."

As for our sorely-deficient liberal arts educations-- I've been spending the last five years catching up on that, and I have the rest of my life.

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Lastly - will you be my parents? I did *not* have the help that you are giving your daughter and am frankly fortunate I fell into what I did - she's one lucky lady - her problem won't be finding oppportunties but picking the best one offered to her.
Hey, you already know how to surf!

It's not that we're so dedicated or committed. We're cool with letting her experience the smaller failures but we know from experience that if we don't guide the most critical decisions from up front, then she'll drive us crazy with daily drama and keep us up all night with teen angst. So this involvement is as much for our sleep as for her future. I guess the trick is knowing when to step in, when to back off, and when to run away screaming.

I found out last night that the extremely persuasive AP U.S. History teacher is also a mega-retailer's "Hawaii Teacher of the Year" who earned the school a $10K cash grant. So her light burns pretty brightly, but its intensity is searing my coronas.

We also found out last night that the high school's AP Calc is actually a real no-foolin' college course. UH's Leeward Community College sends a math professor up to the high school 3x week to teach the subject and we're paying about $400 to earn four transferable calculus credits. The curriculum is accredited by both UH and the AP people, of course, but the idea of having a college prof & college credit neatly sidesteps all the AP crap (no AP exam required) and gives her a transcript that she can take straight to a Mainland school!

Of course validation exams may still be required at USNA. During the AP Statistics brief our kid asked the teacher if the transcript or the AP exam score could be used to obtain college credit. This teacher, who's never seen our daughter before, looked her right in the eye and said "Yes, but if you go to a service academy then you have to take a validation exam." Apparently word is spreading around the teacher's lounge about our kid's aspirations.

This week has had its Freudian moments. I'm the same size today that I was in high school, but those desks are still too darn small. And nearly 30 years after high school, when the teacher calls us by name it still gives us that "Ruh-roh" feeling. Even when the teacher is younger than we are...
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Old 11-16-2007, 09:15 PM   #27
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The only AP course I took was AP History. I think my school only offered English, and History. The teacher was terrific arguable the best in the school and certainly the best I had. I learned a ton about American history got a 4 on the test and it helped my self confidence going into a tough school (Berkeley). Next year the AP teacher died suddenly and it was a huge tragedy, worthy of one of those moments in To Sir with Love, Stand and Deliver, Mr Holland's Opus genre. But I can honestly say that eventhough I had to work hard it was a terrific experience and cemented my love of history. Alas engineering paid better so that it what I majored in.

Teacher of the years are pretty special folks I wouldn't let the work load scare you or your daughter off. If the course is fun it doesn't feel like work.

P.S. why does she want to go to USNA?
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Old 11-16-2007, 09:21 PM   #28
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My observations from both my own experience and my kids.

High School AP classes are NOT the same as college classes, but they are generally a step up in rigor and material covered from the usual High School fare. For kids ready to do work beyond a typical High School class, they can be great. They are also very fashionable right now, so many High Schools are trying to raise the number of AP classes they offer and lay claim to being a superior school as a result. In our High School they are often oversubscribed and difficult to get into.

For any of these classes, the caliber of the teacher will count for a lot more than the class outline from College Board (yes, these classes are supposed to cover a set curriculum so the standardized tests can cover the same material.) Teachers who think they have the "advanced" kids and are determined to make the class a lot of work are generally not doing the kids a favor and are living out their own fantasies rather than accounting for reality as experienced by kids. If you have "advanced" kids in an AP class, they are likely also in other AP classes and other activities (band, sports, drama, hobbies, etc) at which they may also excel. Every activity cannot be THE ONLY activity in their lives, nor even the MOST DEMANDING. And at that age they should be able to balance many interests. They should never be forced to effectively declare a major and limit other interests while still in High School.

My son found that he was eligible for regular Chemistry, Honors Chemistry or AP Chemistry this year. Honors and regular Chemistry cover the same material in the same class with the same teacher at the same time, but "Honors" students get more and longer homework assignments and take harder tests. There is no additional teaching and no additional material - just more work hours required. AP Chemistry was a separate class, but the teacher (same teacher) said they cover very similar material with a lot more memorization as needed for the test. First assignment was memorizing the names of 100 radicals. Given these choices, my son chose regular Chemistry. He's a bright motivated student who even reads Chemistry texts on his own just to learn the stuff. But none of the school's ideas of "advanced" had any appeal to him. I've been in presentations where the school is very proud of the range of Chemistry classes they offer, but really it's effectively only a one year Chemistry curriculum in different wrappers.

So, for the kind of student for whom AP classes are intended, whether they are really useful to the student or just a line item on some school administrator's bragging list depends a lot on the way they teacher and the school elect to set them up. Just being bright shouldn't have to mean you are required to take whatever class the school designates as difficult.

My son is NOT taking the "most advanced" version of Chemistry, but in other classes where the AP setup was more sensible, he's happy to be in the more advanced class and be able to cover additional material. In subjects where the High School offerings are deficient he makes the best choice he can or fills in with actual real college classes as we are fortunate to live near a university. The High School should be concerned that as a bright motivated student he cannot find suitable classes, but frankly they don't seem to care much as long as he doesn't act out. I find it appalling that they cannot reasonably serve the needs of bright students, but they seem mostly concerned with the school's reputation, which comes more from number of AP classes, than the quality of them.
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Old 11-17-2007, 01:11 AM   #29
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Unstructured free time is a blessing.

Competence, unfortunately, is all too rare. A few more or less AP courses won't be the deciding factor in terms of success - competence will. And it sounds like your daughter is more than adequate in that regards.


Being able to take a night (or weekend) off or fun or not becoming incredibly behind on all activities when sick is a real benefit, not only in high school, but throughout life.


I'm not too familiar with what my high-school cohorts ended up doing, but most of those who pushed the hardest burned out the earliest (lots of drinking/drug problems in college). Not all - it does depend on the person.


I see balance in life as incredibly important - and I think that free time is an important part of that balance. Work hard, play hard, and chill hard
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Old 11-17-2007, 07:06 AM   #30
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For any of these classes, the caliber of the teacher will count for a lot more than the class outline from College Board.......

The High School should be concerned that as a bright motivated student he cannot find suitable classes, but frankly they don't seem to care much as long as he doesn't act out. I find it appalling that they cannot reasonably serve the needs of bright students, but they seem mostly concerned with the school's reputation, which comes more from number of AP classes, than the quality of them.
This is very well said and right on target. We are already struggling in middle school. Many of the brightest kids are bored, having covered much of the material in math and language arts last year in elementary school. Talking with the school has no effect. As long as overall school performance on standard tests continues to reflect that they are the highest performing middle school in the area, they defend their methods and course offerings.

I am terrified that we will loose the brightest kids (not just mine) who feel they don't need to go to class to get a good grade. (my daughter has actually said she can stay up very late because being tired will make the classes more challenging.) I feel we are racing the clock between having to depend on the public school while we w*rk and being FIRE'd so that we can either homeschool, add in virtual school or at least have the time to supplement classes with relevance before total rebellion sets in.

Since both kids have career goals and interests that depend on college, we hope they realize they will need to tough it out, regardless.
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Old 11-17-2007, 12:41 PM   #31
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P.S. why does she want to go to USNA?
The short version? "Infatuation with an irresistible challenge". That's what got me 30 years ago. I wonder if there might not be a little psychological parental competition, too.

The longer version: Spouse & I are classes of '83 & '82 and our kid knows a lot of service-academy graduates (including a cousin who just graduated from West Point and a neighbor kid who just started there). The son of a friend is finishing up his first semester of USNA's plebe year, and he went to a year of prep school just to qualify. (He'll be visiting us next month, which should lead to a lot of interesting nightmares for all concerned.) Our kid sees USNA as an "easy choice to make" (though hard to endure) with a salary and a guaranteed job after graduation. She can also see that our military service led straight to ER, a lifestyle she has to observe us enjoying every day as she leaves for school.

We spent a week's vacation at USNA in 2006 and she was heavily recruited by one of our old shipmates. We worked out with the plebes (at 6 AM), got a personal tour of the labs & classrooms & sports facilities, and chatted with plenty of mids & alumni over frosty beverages on various lanai. This "friend", one of USNA's first women graduates, told our kid (in front of us) that she was a better USNA candidate than both of us combined. Unfortunately true, and it's all too easy to be seduced by the culture. But, heck, when I saw the Admissions Office's video "To Lead and To Serve" I wanted to sign up all over again myself.

So last summer, in the spirit of "fair & balanced", we visited Notre Dame, CMU, & RPI. She can see herself attending every one of those schools, too, and we'll try to add a few more visits to other schools on her list (hopefully in warmer climates). At least she's agreed to defer her decision until 2009, when USNA's two-week "Welcome to Hell" "Summer Seminar" gives high-school juniors a taste of the lifestyle.

In the meantime it's brought a keen focus to her desire to max all things academic & physical, and I'm not going to get in the way of that. Except, of course, when she tries to overload her life and drive us all nuts...
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Old 11-18-2007, 05:45 AM   #32
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Re: AP classes versus same class in college

I know I got a lot more out of my HS AP classes than what my classmates reported getting out of the same classes in college. For one thing, the instructors spoke fluent english, something that you probably won't experience too much at many universities when you take introductory physics, calculus/diff eq and chemistry courses. Although maybe not understanding anything the prof says and then learning it on your own IS the way to prepare for a successful college career?
I took AP English my senior year in high school. I can still quote Chaucer by memory, and the class instilled a lifelong appreciation of John Donne. e.e. cummings, and others. The richness of the English language is amazing and to have the variety and extent of English literature put in front of us like a smorgasbord that year was quite an experience. The assignments were fascinating and not just work to keep us busy.

I never took the AP exam, though I don't remember why. I probably forgot to sign up (too busy salivating over those tan, muscular surfers on Kailua beach after school, as well as trying to adjust my tiny bikini to make it look even tinier, to get their attention!).

The following year I took English in college, taught by a young blonde girl who was probably a grad student (I don't recall). We studied "Lord of the Flies", which I had already read several years earlier and had analyzed to death in my ninth grade English class. For this class we were required to see the movie (which was showing in local theaters). I didn't have the money budgeted for that, so I asked if I could read the book and do my book report on that instead. The answer was "NO". There was never any explanation of that, and my classmates' book reports (based on just the movie) were mainly "this happened and then that happened" recitations of the plot, written in run-on sentences. The class was a total waste of time.
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Old 11-18-2007, 07:21 AM   #33
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I truly hate the AP concept. It becomes more about the merit badge than what you know. I think kids should wait until college to take college courses, and high school should give them the tools to learn in college. There is nothing wrong with a 5 year college plan. Heck, if I had my way I would be a 26th year senior right now. Other than the expense, I don't find any good reasons to rush through college.
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Old 11-19-2007, 10:04 PM   #34
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ah - yes, i think soph is too young to do too much - people have gone nuts with this stuff.

i sat on a committee that reviewed the admissions policies for the UC system and the two top schools ucla and berkeley - couldn't really use GPA anymore because more than half their applicants already had a 4.0 or more - so that was thrown out...i think a lot of the top tier schools are doing the same.

i think you have to find balance. i'm not sure they can force your daughter to take the test (especially since there is a cost involved) and it may have more to do with if the colleges will count the credit or not. If there is more flexibilty with taking the test or not - then she could consider the merit of taking the course because the content is something of interest to her - or it would have some other benefit.

for me - passing out of AP calc was a blessing because taking college calc would have been dreadful.

also - all AP's are not the same. there are some that are "easier" than others (either cuz of content or teacher) and some tests are "easier" to pass than others. for ex i took the english language test (one of only a handful at my school), hardly studied and got a 4 on it. other kids stressed and took the other test...

that way, she should find the balance of gpa bonus points, richer content, and a few credits flex in college. some of the non-AP classes may be ok - but some really stink - she should know which is which or find out.

my roommate came in as a sophomore cuz she had so many credits and i don't think it benefited her much - she had some obvious social problems (studied too much, repressive parents = floosy college girl haha) and didn't get as much of a chance to explore interesting courses in college.

don't most schools also require some community service now? got to squeeze that in too! don't underestimate the value of her leadership activities and other skills since the nerds can be a dime a dozen.

might help if she looked at the actual applications to see what slots they want you to fill in and she has something to fill in all of them...
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Old 11-20-2007, 08:56 AM   #35
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Nords, your daughter's lucky to have parents like you & your DW.

The "you can do anything, but you can't do everything" is an extremely important lesson to teach a bright young person. It took me a long time to get that.

I took a good number of advanced classes in high school, although none of them were designated AP and they were still graded on the same 100 point scale (remember those?). If you wanted to take the AP test, you could give it your best shot, but the class wasn't meant to "teach to the test" as I gather many are now. They just taught the material and at one point said "oh, by the way, if anyone wants to take the AP test, you should sign up soon."

IMHO, that's how it should be. I was glad to have taken the advanced classes because it helped me get through the freshman year of engineering, when something like 2/3 of the incoming class was failed out. (Engineering was commonly referred to as "pre-business.")

I'm really disturbed by the pressure your daughter's teachers are putting on her.

I quit AP English because the teacher sounded very much like your daughter's AP history teacher. She was very full of herself and assigned an inordinate amount of work. If you dedicated your life to her class, then you were "worthy," and if not, you simply Were Not Good Enough. The other smart kids looked down on me for going back to the "regular" class, but I didn't feel the need to be part of that particular cult.

My number one gripe with many teachers and professors was that most of them assumed that their class was the only one that mattered. In the long run, it mattered not one iota that I did not take AP English.

I hope your daughter sets aside some time to be idle, to do whatever captures her interest at the moment, and to just enjoy being a teen.
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Old 11-20-2007, 10:08 AM   #36
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i'm not sure they can force your daughter to take the test (especially since there is a cost involved) and it may have more to do with if the colleges will count the credit or not. If there is more flexibilty with taking the test or not - then she could consider the merit of taking the course because the content is something of interest to her - or it would have some other benefit.
Parents of high-schoolers are going to have to watch out for this one.

Our high school doesn't award credit for the AP course (on a 5.0 GPA scale) without at least a "3" on the AP exam. (Students not taking the exam end up being given credit for the lower course on a 4.0 GPA scale.) I don't know if money & glory rain down on schools for having lots of AP students or high exam scores, but AP students sign a pack of acknowledgments before being allowed to register for the course-- and one of the signatures is a commitment to an $86 exam. Maybe financial assistance is available to low-income families. (Hmm, we need to look into that. This is the kind of philanthropy I could support.) The $86 is paid straight out of her college fund and is way cheaper than the college equivalent, not to mention the beneficial test-taking experience.

I haven't heard any student/parental fuss about the exams themselves, so I doubt the policy has ever been challenged.

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I was glad to have taken the advanced classes because it helped me get through the freshman year of engineering, when something like 2/3 of the incoming class was failed out. (Engineering was commonly referred to as "pre-business.")
25 years ago USNA's engineering department included a degree called "General Engineering", which was intended to salvage the GPAs of those who were being savaged by electrical or systems eng. So our jingle was "Sooner or later, you'll go General"...

29 years ago I managed to place out of a bunch of freshman courses, which gave me the breathing space to help me catch up with the other USNA plebe-year requirements. It also got me out of a lot of time-wasting homework, lab writeups, and term papers. But then sophomore year was full of references to things that I hadn't seen in plebe chemistry or calculus, so the catch-up game started all over again.

I shudder to think of how things would've gone if the Web had existed back then.

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The other smart kids looked down on me for going back to the "regular" class, but I didn't feel the need to be part of that particular cult.
We've been explaining the concept of "Helsinki Syndrome".

The AP crisis has passed, although we're still watching the shock waves ripple through other families as their kids wrestle with the same decisions. She's happy with "just" AP English & calculus, and she's already seen the calculus via Kumon. Physics and regular U.S. history will round out the core.

This week's fuss is over choosing two electives. She thought this offering from the school's business curriculum would be interesting:
"Finance **New Course!!** CREDIT VALUE: 1
Finance is a recommended second year New Course which provides the foundation for studying and using personal financial planning techniques. Topics include: investing and saving, budgeting, banking, consumer credit,
loans (car & personal), basic tax preparation, and an introduction to the stock market. Students will participate in the Hawaii Stock Market Simulation."

But here's what she already does at home:
- Run her own checking account, including online banking and Quicken
- Manage her own credit card ($400 limit)
- Manage a semi-annual clothing & toiletries budget, including tracking her spending in Quicken and generating reports for parental discussion before she gets the next round of funding
- Transfer her paychecks to her Roth IRA
- Prepare her tax return in TurboTax (walking through the menus with me)
- Choose individual stocks (like Disney), an activity that she's decided is boring. Otherwise she knows little about this subject.

I've suggested that she might enjoy an "easy A" but also be bored by some of the topics, especially stock analysis. We'll see what happens...
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:11 AM   #37
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Parents of high-schoolers are going to have to watch out for this one.

Our high school doesn't award credit for the AP course (on a 5.0 GPA scale) without at least a "3" on the AP exam. (Students not taking the exam end up being given credit for the lower course on a 4.0 GPA scale.) I don't know if money & glory rain down on schools for having lots of AP students or high exam scores, but AP students sign a pack of acknowledgments before being allowed to register for the course-- and one of the signatures is a commitment to an $86 exam. Maybe financial assistance is available to low-income families. (Hmm, we need to look into that. This is the kind of philanthropy I could support.) The $86 is paid straight out of her college fund and is way cheaper than the college equivalent, not to mention the beneficial test-taking experience.

I haven't heard any student/parental fuss about the exams themselves, so I doubt the policy has ever been challenged.

...
Huh, that still doesn't sound legal

In my day a lot of us would take the course with no intention of taking the test because either the teacher sucked and there was no way we would pass - but still wanted the gpa bump - or because halfway during the year, you realized you wouldn't do well anyway.

Perhaps they are trying to crack down on that behavior but still forcing everyone to take the test in a way, can make the school look worse if everyone doesn't pass or get higher scores. I didn't know the schools could control the GPA - as I recall - the applications tell you how to calculate the gpa - ie give 4 points for A, 5 if from AP etc. etc. My calc teacher had a 100% passing rate because halfway through the year, they would start screening the kids and "encouraging" you one way or the other to take it or not. then you were on two different tracks to take the test or not - two different homework assignments etc. most colleges only take a 4 score above anyway...
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Old 11-20-2007, 12:45 PM   #38
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I don't know if money & glory rain down on schools for having lots of AP students or high exam scores,
Yep.... when my wife taught in Florida she received a monetary bonus per student that was successful with a 4 or 5 written on the AP test. I believe it was $2000 per student. She could buy extra Chemistry equipment to teach the following year. This was of course the schools property. She ended up buying very cool lab equipment, movies, chemicals, electronic chalk boards, projectors etc....

It got to the point where she couldn't use it all and found it best to give it to the other teachers in her department. She hated when I had to transfer and she had to leave her own private Los Alamos.
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Old 11-20-2007, 05:21 PM   #39
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I came into this thread late and I'll add to the dense information.

I think these courses are really good for college preparation; I have a daughter who teaches AP English and my two youngest ones took a lot of AP courses. The courses indicate to college admissions officers, including those at the service academies, that the high school student who has taken AP or IB classes has taken the most rigorous academic study typically offered at the high school level; they offer the admissions officers the ability to compare students from different high schools much like the SAT does; and the exam test scores really validate (according to my daughter who teaches AP English) whether the course content was accurately taught by the instructor or understood by the students. However, you can really go haywire on the number of courses that students take in high school, which occurred for my two youngest children. Taking a lot of these courses, during an academic year, can be very demanding especially if the students are engaged in other activities. This can suck some of the fun out of high school.

For a civilian college, AP exam scores of 4's and 5's could really help in college advance placement, knock off a lot of prerequisite or core courses, and permit one to graduate early. My youngest daughter actually had one year of college credit awarded to her as a result of her AP scores. Bear in mind, however, that some of the more selective schools will only accept a few AP scores. I believe Harvard or Yale might accept a 5 score for a foreign language placement and that's about it. For USNA, AP exam scores don't have any significance in advance placement -- though they might suggest that there are some study areas in which a Plebe might validate a course. USNA permits a student to "validate" a course and not take it for placement/core curriculum requirements by successfully taking a "validation" exam in the course during Plebe summer. My son had high AP exam scores in Physics, Chemistry and English, but only validated English during his Plebe summer.
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Old 11-20-2007, 06:07 PM   #40
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The courses indicate to college admissions officers, including those at the service academies, that the high school student who has taken AP or IB classes has taken the most rigorous academic study typically offered at the high school level; they offer the admissions officers the ability to compare students from different high schools much like the SAT does;
This angle cuts both ways. For the kid from a school with fewer resources - if they took 2 of the 2 available AP courses - they are seen positively, but if another kid from another school took 5 of 22 available - they are not perceived to have taken the most challenging of "what is available"... which at some point should have some sort of cut-off.

It has become too much of a numbers game! and i guess, back to Nords' point akin to the arms race.

I frankly, took the middle road and really enjoyed high school! "balance daniel son, balance..."

And Nords - a lot of schools do take into consideration geographic diversity - ie kids from hawaii or rural schools etc. it is on the "list" of things...including legacy, "development capacity (ie hall of Nords in their future?), income etc... how ya think dubya got to yale? think he took the most rigorous courses and AP classes?

I've considered training my girls in some odd ball sport for girls that offers full ride scholarships...you can get a gold medal for curling in the winter games - can you get a scholarship? gotta get that broom out...
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