To Take AP or Not to Take AP…

The number of Advanced Placement (AP) classes being offered and the rates of passing scores on the tests are increasingly being used as one criteria to rank high schools.  (Washington Post, Newsweek)  As parents become more savvy about the college admissions process, many know that the number of rigorous courses offered at a high school can affect the competitiveness of a student for admissions and are seeking greater numbers of AP and Honors courses in their child’s high school choice.   However, the number and variety of courses available is not the only standard for schools, ranking services and families to be evaluating the quality of education and college preparation for students.  Only 18.1% of all high school graduates in the Class of 2011 took at least one AP exam and scored a 3 or higher, which is considered a passing score, despite 68.4% of public school graduates who took between 1-3 AP exams during high school.[1]

Given these statistics, the preparation of students before the rigor of AP courses high school, during middle school and 6th grade is essential.   Who are the teachers instructing classes before AP courses, what are the academic expectations in those classes?  Also, for students and families thinking forward about the competition for college admissions, know the AP credit policy of colleges on their application list and the average number of AP courses incoming college freshmen have in their resume will be helpful in making informed decisions.


[1] College Board, The 8th Annual AP Report to the Nation. 8 Feb 2012. <>


Update: only schools & districts that submit data to Newsweek are considered to be one of the best high schools.  “Of the nation’s 26,000 high schools, about 2,000 sent data, and of those, 1,000 were named to the list, meaning any school with a little gumption has a 50 percent chance of being a best. ”  (New York Times, 6/3/2012)

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
View all posts by Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy →