Advanced Placement Courses to Be Audited

Sarah Morocco
April 13, 2007

Instructors of high school AP courses throughout the United States are being audited this year to determine whether their curricula are as demanding as the college courses they are designed to resemble. The College Board, a nonprofit association that administers the Advanced Placement Program, will look at an estimated 130,000 courses, and only those deemed worthy will be able to carry the title "Advanced Placement."

In previous years, there has been no standard for high school AP courses. The nationwide audit is in response to an increase in courses that do not meet college standards, but that are still classified as Advanced Placement.

The College Board has set a goal to approve at least 105,000 of the courses being examined and has encouraged teachers to submit revised syllabi if their courses are initially denied.

The National Academies have released a number of reports discussing the Advanced Placement Program. The report Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools recommends that the College Board exercise greater quality control by establishing standards for what constitutes an Advanced Placement course. It also urges a different approach for these classes. They should focus on helping students acquire in-depth understanding rather than the more superficial knowledge that comes from covering too much material too quickly.

Rising Above The Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future calls for strengthening the skills of teachers through Advanced Placement training programs, and increasing the number of students who take AP courses, better preparing them for college. Being Fluent with Information Technology says that while students might receive credit for an Advanced Placement course, they might not be sufficiently educated in that subject due to varying quality of courses.

Learning and Understanding:Improving Advanced Study in Mathematics and Science in U.S. Highschools(2002)
Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future(2007)
Being Fluent With Information Technology(1999)
Other Resources
The College Board's AP Central