Florida Bastardizes AP Program and College Board Goes Along
In Florida, the number of students taking AP classes helps determine school grades. As you might suspect, students are herded into these classes under the guise of giving kids a chance and equal opportunities for all. The Florida legislature exempted (illegally I would hold) AP classes from the class size law that voters supported adding to the constitution. Jeb Bush and his comrades in the legislature have fought the class size law from day one. AP classes are not capped at 25. In fact, many are 40-45. The College Board once suggested low class sizes for AP classes but has recently backed off of that. Wonder why?
The Florida Department of Education(sic) loves to point out that more are passing these exams. Of course, more kids are taking them so a general rise in pass rates is expected. There are more disturbing things happening because of this AP push and I see a connection.
AP classes are watered down as teachers must accept more students into their classes. These students are there to help the school grade. There is also pressure to improve graduation rates and many schools will not let kids transfer out of AP. If you keep your standards you will have a lot of low grades. When you have a lot of low grades you often don’t get asked to teach AP the following year. One AP test reader told me, sadly, that grading of exams at the national level has also been watered down. One AP World History reader said, “What was a low score 10 years ago is now more acceptable. The quality is suffering- overall.” This is just one reader but it serves as an anecdote to consider.
Also, many colleges are now not accepting AP (passing scores on tests) for credit in college- or counting it as general elective credit and not content area. Do they see what is happening as states like Florida bastardize the program? Are some students being cheated by being misplaced in these classes while others harmed when they are denied credit in college? The idea that AP classes are for all is as silly as “college for all” or “flu shots for all.”