Education Update - Is it Good News or Not?

Keeping to the educational theme this week, it seems more CA students are passing college-level exams than in previous years. A recent article in our local paper suggested that according to the California Department of Education, about 20% of the kids in CA score at least a "3" on an advanced placement (AP) test, which is a passing score on the 5-point scale. Students who pass the test can earn credit and advanced placement in college. Across the country, only about 12% of students are passing an AP test, although there are state differences. In New York 23% pass; in Maryland 22% pass; Virginia is coming in at 22%, and Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont are at about 20%. There are ethnic disparities however - in California, only about 2% of the passing scores are African American students, compared to the 7% of students who are African American in our schools.

I really am ambivalent about AP classes, overall, especially given the concern about "raising the bar" and making it so hard to get into universities. More than 90% of four-year colleges and universities in the United States recognize the AP program for credit, placement and admissions decisions, adding it to the list of "must dos" for the college bound among our children. One of my own daughters is finishing her sophomore year and is staring down the barrel of AP courses next year, on top of thoughts about where to attend college, and I dare say, it seems a little intense.

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