The Reality of AP Classes

After reading Kavina Amin’s article about limiting the number of AP Classes students can enroll in, I realized I had a lot of thoughts regarding this important issue. In hundreds of schools, all over the country, students take AP classes to further their knowledge of difficult, intellectual subjects. These classes are known to be as difficult as college-level courses, but students today are still filling up their schedules with these advanced classes. In the past, AP classes were taken because students had genuine interests in the subject manner; however, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of classes taken simply because students feel they need to be competitive with their peers to be accepted into a college of their choice. For example, a study conducted by the College Board found that there have been significant increases in the students taking AP exams and classes. In 2010 there were 1,845,006 students enrolled in AP classes, but 8 years later, there were 2,808,990 students taking AP classes. The rise of student enrollment has shown that these classes have become valued among the top universities, but students enrolling in AP classes may not have an interest in the subjects they are learning. As Kavina mentioned in her article, limiting the number of Advanced Placement classes students can take would be a good alternative. This is because these classes continue to build greater pressure on high school students around the country, and there are numerous issues with the classes themselves.

For example, many college students have explained that they felt that their advanced placement classes weren’t equivalent in difficulty to their college courses. Even though many students take these classes to get an understanding of the difficulty of college classes, others enroll in order to opt out of certain classes. However, more and more colleges and universities have decided not to give college credit for advanced placement classes, and when they do award credit, it is limited to an introductory class. Many college students, though, argue that this may not be the best idea, as the level of difficulty in a high school class could vary substantially with a college-level course. Most of the AP classes in high schools around the country are open to any and all students, and this may lower the rigor of the class itself. As more high school students, who may not be ready for these high-level classes, join, the level of rigor between high school and college level classes widens. Additionally, AP exams are very expensive, and this creates an educational disparity and disadvantage for lower-income families. It doesn’t seem right that families have to spend hundreds of dollars on exams in order for their children to be competitive with other students. Since AP exams cost about 100 dollars to take, taking three exams every year would cause parents to spend 900 dollars for each of their children, over the course of three years. The additional tutoring and review classes just add to this price, making the AP exam process very costly.

In Kavina’s article, she mentioned that The Horace Mann School, located in New York City, has decided to limit the number of AP classes in which students can enroll. This school is one of the top private schools, and they have taken steps to limit the number of APs students can take. They only allow “students to take AP classes during their junior and senior years and limit the number to three.” I think this is a very important and necessary change as AP classes are rigorous and present numerous issues. Students who are taking five or six advanced placement classes a year have to deal with a hard college-level workload in a short period of time. However, AP classes do provide the benefit of getting students ready for the difficulty of college classes. They also give you insight into the material you will be learning later at college or university. Despite the numerous issues that exist with AP classes, getting rid of these classes permanently is not the best option. It is more reasonable to limit the number of classes students can take: this way they are exposed to the rigor of these classes in high school, without the added pressure and stress that multiple AP classes could entail.


Leave a Reply