Why We (Still) Don't Believe in the AP
A little over a month ago, the education world buzzed with news that eight of the most influential independent schools in Washington DC have dropped all AP curricula in favor of real-world, student-driven, rigorous curricula built by teachers who love to teach. You can read their entire argument against the AP right here, but this pull quote pretty much summarizes everything they feel (and everything we’ve been saying for the last three years):
...the truth is that college courses, which demand critical thinking and rigorous analysis, look nothing like AP courses, which stress breadth over depth. Moving away from AP courses will allow us to offer courses that are foundational, allow for authentic engagement with the world and demonstrate respect for students’ intellectual curiosity and interests.
We've been suspicious of AP curricula for years -- there is little evidence that the AP correlates to success in college, there is no evidence that it correlates to success in the real world, the College Board itself acknowledges that AP curricula rarely saves students time or money, AP test scores are greatly diminished in their influence over the college admissions decisions, and AP curricula often leads to profoundly flawed curricular decisions for the sake of a poorly constructed standardized test.
We are at a pivotal time in education, a time when academic institutions of all types are asking significant questions about what the true product of a high school education should be. At Stone, we believe our product is a generation of students who are innovative, empathetic, and creative; students who are collaborative and joyful; students who are complex thinkers; students who have the real world skills to solve real 21st century problems. We couldn't be more proud to stand with Sidwell Friends, and St. Albans, and Andover, and Philips Exeter, and the Putney School, and the Cambridge School of Weston, and Catlin Gabel, and hundreds of other extraordinary independent and public schools across the country who believe in depth and rigor and 21st century assessment, not in outsourced curricula.