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NMSI Blog

Challenging AP Without Supports

There is a group called Challenge Success that believes that "society has become too focused on grades, test scores and performance" so you would think they might be against an organization like NMSI that has a focus on AP success as a key metric. But they recently released a report that came out against AP for AP sake BUT is supportive of our program.  From their report - The Advanced Placement Program: Living Up to the Promise?:
 
"In cases in which the AP program does appear to be instrumental in improving the quality of education students receive, the AP is but one part of a larger reform effort. For instance, as part of the Advanced Placement Initiative Program (APIP), a Texas based program that began in 1996, students receive extra tutoring and teachers receive professional development in conjunction with their participation in the AP program. Moreover, the program implemented curriculum changes in earlier grades to equip and prepare high school students for college-level AP coursework. The apparent success of this program resulted in its replication in several other states with grants from the National Math and Science Initiative. For instance, Mass. Math + Science Initiative, the Massachusetts (MMSI) version of this program, has reported promising results (Mass Insight Education, 2012). Again, however, the AP program has not been implemented without other accompanying changes. Rather, the success of MMSI is likely the result of many changes and factors including clear goals and metrics, buy-in from the participating schools, awards, funding, extra instruction for students, and extra training for teachers.
 
 
To be fair, there may be some advantage to students who take an AP course but fail the exam (as noted in the Hargrove study above), but we maintain that using the AP program alone as a tool for narrowing the achievement gap is insufficient. If the AP program is to be used effectively to help make a difference in underserved schools, it will need to be part of a broader initiative that includes changes in professional development and the overall curricular sequence to better prepare students for college-level work. "
 
In essence they properly rail against schools and school districts that just push.