By Leslie Harris O’Hanlon
Enrollment in advanced placement courses has skyrocketed in recent years, and there are many reasons for this spike. Students often believe taking AP courses will give them an edge in getting into college, help them do better once there, and save them money by not having to take those classes again. And many believe AP programs enrich students’ lives because they’re taking part in a rigorous program of learning.
But a recent study found that research doesn’t unequivocally support those beliefs.
“The research is mixed,” said Denise Pope, co-founder of Challenge Success, a non-profit organization at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education. “There isn’t any clear research for any of those claims.”
Pope is author of the white paper “The Advanced Placement Program: Living Up to Its Promise?” for which she reviewed more than 20 studies about AP programs and examined the research Challenge Success has conducted on the subject.
The College Board launched its AP program in 1955 as a way to make college-level courses available to high school students. While AP programs have their strengths, they also have their drawbacks, Pope said. For example, while some studies show that students who take AP courses perform better in their college courses, the performance of such students may not be solely based on the fact that they took an AP course. Students who take AP courses often are a self-selecting Continue reading