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(Politico)   What? Are you telling me that doing a rapid "learning" of college level material in high school at a sped up pace and having the students forget what they "learned" after six months is a bad thing? Somebody get my fainting couch   (politico.com) divider line 103
    More: Obvious, Advanced Placement, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, high schools, College Board, University of Northern Colorado, teacher training, college credit, net assets  
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4072 clicks; posted to Main » on 21 Aug 2013 at 9:20 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-08-21 08:14:52 AM
More like bad IDEA center, amirite?
 
2013-08-21 08:29:04 AM
I don't know anything first hand about AP classes, since they weren't a big deal when I was in school. If a kid was a little bit ahead, he just enrolled in a few classes at either the local campus of Big State U, or maybe a JUCO if he was poor. And his high school gave him credit, and he got college credits, and everyone was happy except the testing company who made no money.
But what little I do know, or think I know, disturbs me. And that's that AP Calculus doesn't even require epsilon-delta proofs. How is that even calculus? That's just future engineer monkey-math.
So what I wonder is, are all the AP classes watered down like that?
 
2013-08-21 08:33:15 AM

rumpelstiltskin: So what I wonder is, are all the AP classes watered down like that?


in our education system, probably

/electrical engineer
//hated proofs with a passion
 
2013-08-21 08:52:06 AM
somedude210:
in our education system, probably

/electrical engineer
//hated proofs with a passion


But if you had to learn what they were, that's good. I know engineers generally don't need to ever, in their lives, prove anything, but it's at least a sort of intelligence test. If you can't do it at all, you can't be an engineer. That should be the rule.
 
2013-08-21 08:54:20 AM
media.salon.com
 
2013-08-21 08:58:30 AM
And buried in the last paragraph is the real reason AP classes have been on the rise - they are a cash cow for the College Board.
 
2013-08-21 09:02:12 AM
I just looked at the college board description of AP Physics. What the fark is that supposed to place you out of? Physics for Poets?
 
2013-08-21 09:19:35 AM

rumpelstiltskin: But if you had to learn what they were, that's good. I know engineers generally don't need to ever, in their lives, prove anything, but it's at least a sort of intelligence test. If you can't do it at all, you can't be an engineer. That should be the rule.


True, I support this and the teaching of proofs.

/hell, I remember doing proofs in Freshman year Geometry
//Proofs are, actually, fairly easy. Long and tedious, but fairly easy
 
2013-08-21 09:22:19 AM

rumpelstiltskin: somedude210:
in our education system, probably

/electrical engineer
//hated proofs with a passion

But if you had to learn what they were, that's good. I know engineers generally don't need to ever, in their lives, prove anything, but it's at least a sort of intelligence test. If you can't do it at all, you can't be an engineer. That should be the rule.


Agreed.  Such is a must for computer programmers - not because you ever use proofs (you use algebra mostly) in programming but if you can understand proofs you can understand what many full time coders need to understand with computer algorithms (complexities, intricacies, whatever).

I have many teacher friends and they generally tell me that AP classes are a joke now days.  Most of them are easy to get in to and if the kid doesn't pass the test, many parents will come up to the school and badger the teacher into letting their kid in the AP class.
 
2013-08-21 09:24:12 AM
AP classes (and all of its prep, curriculum, and testing-related materials) are a cash cow for the College Board, which is the main reason the College Board works so hard to constantly push it out to schools. But the reason schools love it has absolutely nothing to do with the level of learning it provides. It has to do with the fact that most schools weight the grades received in those classes, which raises their overall GPA, which provides the illusion of school-wide improvement without actually doing anything to improve. The more kids you can push into AP classes, the better it looks like the kids are doing.
 
2013-08-21 09:24:52 AM
Of course schools are pushing kids in to these classes, they get extra money for every kid who passes the class.  I don't blame the schools for trying to get all the money they can.
 
2013-08-21 09:26:42 AM
I took a test to get out of high school at 16 (state version of GED).

I guess I'm blessed that I went to college and have this glorious corporate job. But if I had it to it all over again, I would totally get knocked up and be a welfare queen. No, I'm not kidding....l don't know how I got here and can't find the exit. Oh well. I'm hoping to get fired today based on my refusal to work 12 hour days. Then I can be what I really want to be, which is a ninja.
 
2013-08-21 09:27:42 AM

rumpelstiltskin: So what I wonder is, are all the AP classes watered down like that?


Now, yes...there was a time however they were not. This is why enrollment is up is because the standards have been lowered for AP work.

Twenty some odd years ago when I took my AP Calc class we had to proof farking everything, and in my AP Physics class we were required to come up with new design experiments and math tests of theories. Like that literally was the entire semester, ask a question and then design tests and hypos around that theory.

Now, I sat down recently with my niece who is enrolled in AP physics and found they are just going over the niggling details of Newtonian Physics.......which made me wonder what the fark are they teaching in regular physics classes?
 
2013-08-21 09:28:15 AM

rumpelstiltskin: I just looked at the college board description of AP Physics. What the fark is that supposed to place you out of? Physics for Poets?


Yes. They're designed to get you out of Intro to ____. For what it's worth my AP classes were great classes to take (way more interesting with better teaching and materials) than regular classes, coming into college essentially as a sophomore helped my financial situation once there ($75 per course? way better than a years worth of tuition). They had no more or less "sticking" power than any course I took in college (i.e., the courses I loved I still remember, the courses that were a stubborn horrendous grind I remember the vague outlines...which still isn't so bad for them being 15 years in the past).
 
2013-08-21 09:28:51 AM
Their data doesn't support their conclusion.  Rest of article is conjecture and inter-generational squabbling disguised as concern.
 
2013-08-21 09:29:39 AM
So the number of students taking AP classes has a more than doubled since '02 - and the percent passing has fallen by 4%.

So if 100 kids took an AP class in 02 we'd expect 61 to pass and get college credit.

Today we'd have 250 kids take the class and 142 of them pass...

So now 81 kids (in reality its some repeats) would leave high school with college credit where before they would have gotten a pat on the back and a piece of paper.

my god... the horror.
 
2013-08-21 09:31:11 AM
I wish I had taken more APs in H.S. The $45 test fee is nothing compared to the $700 per credit(min 3-credits) classes I had to take in college. I'm sure all those prices are up by now, but I recommend AP courses to all my nieces and nephews.
 
2013-08-21 09:31:16 AM
Let's not overlook that students are signing up for more AP courses for two reasons:
They can save thousands in university tuition, up to a full years' worth
Millenials have been pressured to overperform from birth by parents who, at that age, were "busy" tuning in, turning on, and dropping out
 
2013-08-21 09:32:04 AM
Government subsidizes putting more people into a program, people who wouldn't make the program before because of various requirements, then is shocked when more people start failing in said program? This is my shocked face.
 
2013-08-21 09:33:50 AM

somedude210: rumpelstiltskin: But if you had to learn what they were, that's good. I know engineers generally don't need to ever, in their lives, prove anything, but it's at least a sort of intelligence test. If you can't do it at all, you can't be an engineer. That should be the rule.

True, I support this and the teaching of proofs.

/hell, I remember doing proofs in Freshman year Geometry
//Proofs are, actually, fairly easy. Long and tedious, but fairly easy


I ran a few proofs in mechanical engineering to save some time on the test. I'm fairly ponderous on my work, so time constraints are always an issue. One of my classmates got a B on a test he thought he was going to fail after working with me on them.

/but I agree, I hate proofs.
 
2013-08-21 09:34:36 AM

naughtyrev: And buried in the last paragraph is the real reason AP classes have been on the rise - they are a cash cow for the College Board.


This.  Everything in school is about money.  The high schools are in bed with the colleges, the colleges are in bed with corporations.  It's just one big filthy educational orgy.
/might learn a thing or two in an educational orgy
 
2013-08-21 09:35:34 AM

rumpelstiltskin: I don't know anything first hand about AP classes, since they weren't a big deal when I was in school. If a kid was a little bit ahead, he just enrolled in a few classes at either the local campus of Big State U, or maybe a JUCO if he was poor. And his high school gave him credit, and he got college credits, and everyone was happy except the testing company who made no money.
But what little I do know, or think I know, disturbs me. And that's that AP Calculus doesn't even require epsilon-delta proofs. How is that even calculus? That's just future engineer monkey-math.
So what I wonder is, are all the AP classes watered down like that?


It might depend on the school district.  I took AP classes in the late 90s and remember them being fairly strenuous (I had good teachers).  What I learned in high school AP Calc placed me out of college Calc 101, and the knowledge from AP Calc took me a third of the way through college Calc II.

/also, your post saddened me.  I was a math minor, but now I can't even remember what the hell an epsilon-delta proof is.
 
2013-08-21 09:38:37 AM

Tiberius Gracchus: rumpelstiltskin: I just looked at the college board description of AP Physics. What the fark is that supposed to place you out of? Physics for Poets?

Yes. They're designed to get you out of Intro to ____.


This.  AP classes are for kids who either really give a shiat about a subject and want to skip the useless intro class in college, or for kids who don't give a shiat about a subject at all and don't want to have to waste credits on the intro class in college.  Regardless, taking the AP class in high school, even factoring in the fee for the test at the end of the year, is way cheaper than an equivalent three-credit class at even a crappy state university.

/took AP bio solely to avoid taking intro to biology from his dad in college
 
2013-08-21 09:41:51 AM
Fainting couch.  This one's going to be around for awhile.
 
2013-08-21 09:41:59 AM

rumpelstiltskin: I don't know anything first hand about AP classes, since they weren't a big deal when I was in school. If a kid was a little bit ahead, he just enrolled in a few classes at either the local campus of Big State U, or maybe a JUCO if he was poor. And his high school gave him credit, and he got college credits, and everyone was happy except the testing company who made no money.
But what little I do know, or think I know, disturbs me. And that's that AP Calculus doesn't even require epsilon-delta proofs. How is that even calculus? That's just future engineer monkey-math.
So what I wonder is, are all the AP classes watered down like that?


Yeah, they don't do those in 100 level Calc at university either (did they ever?).  You have to stick around for the 200 and 300 level 'analysis' classes before you get to those.
 
2013-08-21 09:42:56 AM
In hindsight I should have been in all the AP class by senior year, but I had been so bored for so long I wasn't considered a good student for those programs. Then a few years later I got a 3.0 average in getting my BS in Mechanical engineering, where I wasn't bored.

Lesson learned? Lewisville ISD sucks. Also, my last bully was my vice-principal.
 
2013-08-21 09:44:14 AM

rumpelstiltskin: I just looked at the college board description of AP Physics. What the fark is that supposed to place you out of? Physics for Poets?


Data point for AP physics C from 10 years ago: The course and exam were pretty accurately representative of freshman calculus-based physics. One of my problems involved a conducting loop in freefall through a space-varying magnetic field and determining y(t) for it. For calculus, I don't recall d-e proofs on the exam, but we sure had to know them and all of our limit techniques for class.
 
2013-08-21 09:45:35 AM
"In fact, taking an AP class does not lead to better grades in college, higher college graduation rates, or any other tangible benefit - unless the student does well enough to pass the AP test, said Trevor Packer, a senior vice president at the College Board."

That seems like a pretty big "unless"...
 
2013-08-21 09:55:55 AM
chrylis:

Data point for AP physics C from 10 years ago: The course and exam were pretty accurately representative of freshman calculus-based physics. One of my problems involved a conducting loop in freefall through a space-varying magnetic field and determining y(t) for it. For calculus, I don't recall d-e proofs on the exam, but we sure had to know them and all of our limit techniques for class.

I'm not surprised that there are good teachers who are able to teach solid classes. I bet there are many instances where it really makes sense to take an AP class, where the students are going to come away with a university freshman level of understanding (or confusion). But the minimum requirements I see don't imply that outcome is necessary.
 
2013-08-21 09:58:07 AM
Maybe the tests are different now, but 15 years ago Chem, Calc BC, Physics C (both parts) were no joke.

And subby, I don't get your point about the sped up pace. For the AP courses named above I received college credit for Chem I & II, Calc I & II, and Physics I & II. Those were each semester-long courses in college & the high school AP course was a year long. Two semesters == 1 year. If anything, AP courses are slower than college courses: for example, taking AP CompSci A for a year example would only give you college credit for CompSci I.

/ 5's
 
2013-08-21 09:58:11 AM
On the list of things I'd tell an 18-year-old (long, long ago) Lawnchair, and there are many. would be to take Calc I again.  It's not that AP Calc in high school was bad, per se.  Probably a better math teacher than I had at any point in college.  Passed the exam with flying colors, and I can still do almost anything from that class.

It's just that there was about a 6-7 week gap in knowledge between where high school Calc petered out (a class full of senioritis seniors... really can't blame the teacher too much) and where Day 1 Calc II in college picked up.  Some pretty important weeks.  A gap is not unsurmountable. I still passed college Calc II... but might have been better off had I not.  But, there's a whole lot going on when you're 18 and first week in the dorms and all that.

Calc I would have been a pretty big bore after having 80% of it in high school.  But, that's what I'd advise for anyone's first college semester.  Don't take more than 16 hours. Take stuff that looks pretty easy. Go to class anyway... just to get in the habit. (I got an A in ECON 101 by attending two classes and the final... this was a setup for failure later).  There's enough other adjustments in life right then.
 
2013-08-21 10:02:10 AM
I took enough AP classes that I save myself a semester and a half worth of college expenses. I then tested out of enough courses to clear another semester. That came in really handy when I decided to drastically change majors mid-sophomore year. I can't think of a moment where I used anything from my university education for anything other than trivia contests. I just basically paid money for a piece of paper that I used to get a job with.
 
2013-08-21 10:06:31 AM

rumpelstiltskin: I don't know anything first hand about AP classes, since they weren't a big deal when I was in school. If a kid was a little bit ahead, he just enrolled in a few classes at either the local campus of Big State U, or maybe a JUCO if he was poor. And his high school gave him credit, and he got college credits, and everyone was happy except the testing company who made no money.
But what little I do know, or think I know, disturbs me. And that's that AP Calculus doesn't even require epsilon-delta proofs. How is that even calculus? That's just future engineer monkey-math.
So what I wonder is, are all the AP classes watered down like that?


In my AP Calc class, I did epsilon-delta proofs, and epsilon-N proofs when we did sequences for that matter. Mind you, I had a really good teacher for it, so this is almost certainly not standard.

Teaching now, we try to get our (college) students to do at least a few in the calculus class, but almost none of them can, or are even willing to try. If you get them to talk to you, they know the idea, but they're unwilling to put it on paper. Personally, I think it's because they've been trained for years to think that you do math by circling a number (right or wrong) at the end of some incomprehensible chicken scratch.
 
2013-08-21 10:07:37 AM
My only experience with AP classes is actually our daughter's. She took several in high school, did well, and got to do some cool things she wouldn't have done otherwise. The benefit for her came her freshman or sophomore year of state university when she had the same Biology curriculum as her senior year AP high school class. She pulled out her old notes/tests/projects and breezed through.
 
2013-08-21 10:08:11 AM

rumpelstiltskin: I don't know anything first hand about AP classes, since they weren't a big deal when I was in school. If a kid was a little bit ahead, he just enrolled in a few classes at either the local campus of Big State U, or maybe a JUCO if he was poor. And his high school gave him credit, and he got college credits, and everyone was happy except the testing company who made no money.
But what little I do know, or think I know, disturbs me. And that's that AP Calculus doesn't even require epsilon-delta proofs. How is that even calculus? That's just future engineer monkey-math.
So what I wonder is, are all the AP classes watered down like that?




Integral and differential calculus is what we learned/maimed for computer math. I've been making money from that little knowledge for a long time. So that means I'm a sucess. Sure it does.

There seems to be only so many people smart enough that have the ability to sit in one place long enough to cram their head full of things, they can't fathom a need for.

Math teacher had impressive credentials.

/wish i paid more attention in clas back then
 
2013-08-21 10:09:16 AM
Hey, in Virginia, they've launched the Scholars program, where community colleges can award transferable AAS degrees to students while they are in high school.  Then all of those 18 year olds can enter their university of choice right after graduation!

\and quickly be overwhelmed
 
2013-08-21 10:13:53 AM

I May Be Crazy But...: Teaching now, we try to get our (college) students to do at least a few in the calculus class, but almost none of them can, or are even willing to try. If you get them to talk to you, they know the idea, but they're unwilling to put it on paper. Personally, I think it's because they've been trained for years to think that you do math by circling a number (right or wrong) at the end of some incomprehensible chicken scratch.


My Calc I class required any answer without the requirement to show work. My Calc II required everything documented so that if you go the answer right, but misplaced a decimal in getting to the answer, it was marked incorrect. My Calc II was a small class and also graded on an absolute curve because the grades were so low (I believe 50 points out of 100 became a B).
 
2013-08-21 10:14:28 AM
I applaud your trolltastic headline, subby.

And the author's complete lack of comprehension of basic statistics.
 
2013-08-21 10:14:30 AM

SaladMonkey: I can't even remember what the hell an epsilon-delta proof is.


The Wikipedia article isn't bad, if you want to remember. You'll probably want to start in with the "Informal Statement" section first.
 
2013-08-21 10:18:31 AM

Lawnchair: On the list of things I'd tell an 18-year-old (long, long ago) Lawnchair, and there are many. would be to take Calc I again.  It's not that AP Calc in high school was bad, per se.  Probably a better math teacher than I had at any point in college.  Passed the exam with flying colors, and I can still do almost anything from that class.

It's just that there was about a 6-7 week gap in knowledge between where high school Calc petered out (a class full of senioritis seniors... really can't blame the teacher too much) and where Day 1 Calc II in college picked up.  Some pretty important weeks.  A gap is not unsurmountable. I still passed college Calc II... but might have been better off had I not.  But, there's a whole lot going on when you're 18 and first week in the dorms and all that.

Calc I would have been a pretty big bore after having 80% of it in high school.  But, that's what I'd advise for anyone's first college semester.  Don't take more than 16 hours. Take stuff that looks pretty easy. Go to class anyway... just to get in the habit. (I got an A in ECON 101 by attending two classes and the final... this was a setup for failure later).  There's enough other adjustments in life right then.


For me it was Advanced Algebra. I tested into Calc I for freshman year of college, but I lacked the foundation of knowledge/understanding. I suppose my HS Adv. Algebra class just wasn't advanced enough, or didn't stick.

/never did make it through calc II
 
2013-08-21 10:19:24 AM
Failing the exam doesn't mean the course was a waste of time.
 
2013-08-21 10:20:04 AM

UberDave: rumpelstiltskin: somedude210:
in our education system, probably

/electrical engineer
//hated proofs with a passion

But if you had to learn what they were, that's good. I know engineers generally don't need to ever, in their lives, prove anything, but it's at least a sort of intelligence test. If you can't do it at all, you can't be an engineer. That should be the rule.

Agreed.  Such is a must for computer programmers - not because you ever use proofs (you use algebra mostly) in programming but if you can understand proofs you can understand what many full time coders need to understand with computer algorithms (complexities, intricacies, whatever).

I have many teacher friends and they generally tell me that AP classes are a joke now days.  Most of them are easy to get in to and if the kid doesn't pass the test, many parents will come up to the school and badger the teacher into letting their kid in the AP class.


I hated proofs and especially integrals and derivatives when you could look at a formula use the substitution/chain rule and know the answer in 1 second. but to do a full proof it took 5 pages of doodling to get the same answer.
 
2013-08-21 10:25:58 AM

Pocket Ninja: AP classes (and all of its prep, curriculum, and testing-related materials) are a cash cow for the College Board, which is the main reason the College Board works so hard to constantly push it out to schools. But the reason schools love it has absolutely nothing to do with the level of learning it provides. It has to do with the fact that most schools weight the grades received in those classes, which raises their overall GPA, which provides the illusion of school-wide improvement without actually doing anything to improve. The more kids you can push into AP classes, the better it looks like the kids are doing.


Everything has to be some sort of f*cking con job these days.
 
2013-08-21 10:29:07 AM
If a course has to be rushed at such an unreasonable pace, it should be taught over two years.

When I first started an AP Computer Science section, it was already pretty unmanageable for taking many kids from 0 to passing. Then they closed the AB Test, and rolled quite a bit of it into A.  So these days, most classes I know are taught over two years.
 
2013-08-21 10:29:11 AM

aseras: I hated proofs and especially integrals and derivatives when you could look at a formula use the substitution/chain rule and know the answer in 1 second. but to do a full proof it took 5 pages of doodling to get the same answer.


I suppose those are, technically, proofs, but they're mostly just algebraic masturbation. (You do it alone, feel dirty afterwards, and nobody wants to see the result). Don't discount all proofs because of them. Real proofs are fun, and really good ones can be delightful.
 
2013-08-21 10:37:39 AM

MutantMotherMouse: My only experience with AP classes is actually our daughter's. She took several in high school, did well, and got to do some cool things she wouldn't have done otherwise. The benefit for her came her freshman or sophomore year of state university when she had the same Biology curriculum as her senior year AP high school class. She pulled out her old notes/tests/projects and breezed through.


Our AP science courses were to get us out of the first year of a specific highly selective private science university which had larger classes and heavy loads for freshman to weed out the weak.

In my weird crowd, most people went somewhere else after being offered a full scholarship. It's a more exclusive group than Mensa. Funny though, the place had a lot of name recognition in state and a degree from there would have impressed resume readers.
Back in the day, there were very few babes in institutions like that.
 
2013-08-21 10:39:47 AM
The modern education system:

"Memorize these 500 facts, because of the 100 questions on the test, 80% of the questions will likely refer to them"
 
2013-08-21 10:43:50 AM
The tagline once again fails to match the article, which itself fails to prove its claims anyway.

Tagline: Students aren't learning enough from AP classes
Article: Bush-era education policy has been pushing unprepared students into AP classes; those students are failing the test and not are not demonstrating improved education outcomes.
Data they cite: A slightly lower percentage of students are passing, but overall far more students are passing. Students who pass demonstrate improved education outcomes.
 
2013-08-21 10:44:11 AM
Step 1:  Pressure lots of kids to take AP classes even when they probably shouldn't be
Step 2:  Have lots of kids fail their AP tests
Step 3:  Profit anyway, because they still paid the fee!

Seriously, what did schools expect to have happen when AP classes went from being something a handful of the smart kids took a few of to something that everyone is taking for their full courseload?
 
2013-08-21 10:44:48 AM
Taxpayers have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years to nudge more students into Advanced Placement classes

In other words, they were pushing quantity over quality.

The stock-market mentality has taken over. It doesnt matter of you make a good product, have happy customers, what you project for five years down the road, or if the overall economy is doing well. As long as you can show people that in *this* quarter your volume is up, then your stock will hit the ceiling!

More numbers, more volume, more!!!!
 
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