advanced placement

advanced placement

Advanced Placement May Not be so Advanced

Inflated resumes for college applications are a trend of the current age. Students are forced to compete with the best of the best and spend most of their high school careers building their appeal. With college application rates soaring and less students being accepted, the pressure is growing for high school hopefuls. Advanced Placement courses were created for students performing at superior levels and soon became a status symbol on applications. But with more and more students taking these exclusive classes questions are raised about the validity of the course content as “advanced”.

Since the creation of Advanced Placement courses there has been no significant increase in high school standardized testing scores. It would seem that students studying more rigorous material would score higher than their counter-parts in “average” classrooms. A recent study by the Federal Department of Education demonstrates that participation in Advanced Placement coursework does not indicate a measureable higher level of learning for most students.

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Best High Schools in the US

Number one high school: School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas, Texas.

Number one high school: School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas, Texas.

Most students think their high school is the best in the world. What other school could offer as good as friends, as talented a basketball team, or as tasty a cafeteria selection?

Well, although your school may in fact have these things, Newsweek does not even consider them when it picks the best high schools in the country every year.

Newsweek selects the best high schools each year, based on the challenges teachers set for students in the form of advanced placement college-level courses and tests. In 2010, only six percent of public schools in the country – around 1,600 schools, total – made this prestigious list. This is up from 1,300 schools in 2008 but down from 1,750 in 2009.

So, enough with the suspense: Did your high school make the list?

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Maryland Students Ace AP Exams

studying for a testIf you live in Maryland, the College Board’s Advanced Placement tests should not be nearly as intimidating as if you lived anywhere else in the country.

Why?

More high school students in Maryland have taken at least one AP test, and 24.8 percent of students passed the test with a score of at least a three. This is great news for high school students who want to go to college; a three earns college credit at many colleges in the country.

“We have an accelerating number of students taking Advanced Placement,” said Maryland Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick. “The courses are being taught with fidelity. The students are meeting the expectations of the coursework, and it’s revealed in their performance.”

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The Importance of Advanced Placement Classes

StudyingYou have to attend classes every day, from eight in the morning until three in the afternoon. After class, you might have sports practice or work. And then after that, you have homework. Needless to say, high school is a pretty busy time, so why should you bother with taking advanced placement or International Baccalaureate classes?

They are harder, have more homework and require much more studying than regular classes. Doesn’t sound like much fun, huh?

I took advanced placement classes when I was in high school. Sure, I did spend a lot of time studying, but it honestly was not a whole lot more time than I would have spent studying for any other class. But, did they actually make a difference in my academic career? The answer is a loud and resounding, yes!

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Pros and Cons of College Honors Courses

male college professorAs you might be learning, high school and college are not the same. The demands, class schedules, teacher relationships and self-discipline are all completely different, and really for the better.

The same can be said about honors courses in college, versus those you took in high school. Advanced placement, honors courses and even IB classes are all great ways to prepare yourself for college, add some impressive bullets to your college application and broaden your academic horizons as a teen. However, in college, they can sometimes be an unnecessary burden, or can make college an even richer experience – it simply depends on your goals, major and time availability.

A few things to consider before enrolling in college honors courses: Read the rest of this entry »



Earning College Credit in High School

Brett Promisloff tries to solve a problem in a college engineering design class. Such classes can lower college costs.

Brett Promisloff tries to solve a problem in a college engineering design class. Such classes can lower college costs.

Mayra Avila has a busy next two weeks. First, it’s her high school prom. Then next week, it’s her government and English composition college finals.

What? High school prom and college finals? How can one girl be both a college and high school student?

Avila, a student at West Potomac High, is one of many high school students who are dually enrolled in high school and college. These dually enrolled students save money on lower tuition costs while earning credit for high school and college classes. Instead of paying $286 for her English class, Avila pays only $43. Read the rest of this entry »



Best High Schools in America

high school lockersNewsweek published a report of the top 1300 high schools in the U.S. The rankings take into consideration Advanced Placement classes, International Baccaulaureate programs and Cambridge tests. This information was pulled fromthe 2007 school year. The ranking also includes information for subsidized lunches.

For 2008, the top 10 High Schools in America are:

  1. BASIS Charter – Tucson, AZ
  2. Talented & Gifted – Dallas, TX
  3. Suncoast Community – Riviera Beach, FL
  4. Science/Engineering Magnet – Dallas, TX
  5. Stanton College Prep – Jacksonville, FL
  6. Preuss UCSD – La Jolla, CA
  7. Academic Magnet – North Charleson, SC
  8. Paxon School for Advanced Studies – Jacksonville, FL
  9. Oxford Academy – Cypress, CA
  10. International School – Belleville, WA

EDUInReview.com’s own Becca Driskell is an International Baccaulaureate senior at Wichita East High School in Wichita, KS. The school ranked #472.





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