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Advanced Placement To The Rescue

Long ago and far away, I helped NM Senator Jeff Bingaman get the federal AP incentive fund funded -- the first national effort at subsidizing the costs of AP exams for low-income kids. But things have changed a lot since then, and it's interesting to compare everyone's coverage of the annual Advanced Placement report. Everyone covers it differently, as you'll see.


Playing to his affluent Beltway readership, the Post's Jay Mathews focuses on kids who jam too many AP courses onto their transcripts to get into elite colleges (Too Many AP Courses? It's Possible, Official Warns ), only later getting to the real problem which is not enough kids participating in college-level work. Good for Mathews to get the AP folks to admit that there could be such a thing as too much AP, however, against their financial interest which is to slop an AP course in every corner.

Over at Stateline.org, Pauline Vu gives us the big picture, pointing out that AP fever remains strong around the country and linking the AP effort to the whole high school rigor thing (High Schools See More College-level Studies).She cites the percentages of students taking the tests in each state, and the pass rates , and the participation gaps.

They're taking a colder look at things in the frigid midwest, however."A record number of Illinois students enrolled in rigorous Advanced Placement classes last school year," begins this Chicago Tribune piece by Stephanie Banchero (As AP classes grow, test failure rate rises), "but the proportion of teens who passed the end-of-year exam continued its steady decline, according to data released Tuesday." Ditto for Rosanlind Rossi's piece in the Sun Times (More black youths taking AP tests).

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