Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Washington State and AP Testing

From OSPI:

State AP Scores and Participation Rate Rise Again

OLYMPIA — February 24, 2016 — More Washington students are taking and passing Advanced Placement (AP) exams with a score of 3 or higher, according to a report released today by the College Board. That means more students are better prepared for college. And they’re saving money on college credits when they get there.



“Taking AP courses is challenging,” State Superintendent Randy Dorn said. “Not only do students build skills used in college and career, they also have the chance to earn college credit while they’re still in high school.”
Participation
College Board’s report shows that 37.4 percent of Washington high school graduates in the class of 2015 took at least one AP exam. That number increased from 36.1 percent last year and 19.7 percent 10 years ago.

Scores
College Board offers AP exams in 37 subjects. Students take the tests in May and receive scores on a scale from 1 to 5. Washington’s participation rate continues to rise, along with the number of students who pass the exams with at least a 3. In 2015, 22.6 percent of Washington’s graduating seniors scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP test. In 2014, that number was 22.0 percent; in 2005, it was 12.6 percent.

Washington ranked 15th in the nation for the number of 12th graders (22.6 percent) who scored a 3 or higher on AP exams. Maryland was first at 31.7 percent. The national average was 22.4 percent.

6th Annual Honor Roll Districts
College Board’s AP Honor Roll recognizes school districts that increase access to AP coursework and the percentage of students who score a 3 or higher. Washington’s honor roll districts include:

Aberdeen
Archdiocese of Seattle Education Office
Battle Ground
Eatonville
Issaquah
Lake Washington
Marysville
Riverview
Snoqualmie Valley
Spokane

Top 10 Tests
The most popular AP exams in Washington are (in order):

English Language and Composition
United States History
English Literature and Composition
Calculus AB
World History
United States Government and Politics
Biology
Statistics
Psychology
Chemistry

More Information
Visit the Advanced Placement page on the OSPI website to learn more.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are IB classes as rigorous as AP classes? My kid is trying to decide whether to apply for the IB program.

-APIB

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, I believe they are. AP has had the rap of material "one mile wide, one inch deep." But I don't think that's every AP class and College Board has been working to change that impression.

IB is a whole program (although kids - any kid, you don't have to sign up for the program - can take an IB class.) I have no first-hand knowledge but I believe, from what friends whose kids did take it, it's as good as AP and, if your child completes the program, better than AP.

Anonymous said...

Some reading on the IB vs AP choice (be sure to read the comments):

"Tips For Parents: AP vs. IB - Which is best for my kid?" from Mathews, J.
Davidson Institute for Talent Development
http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10701.aspx

"Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate: Do They Deserve Gold Star Status?" from Thomas Fordham Institute
http://www.okaloosaschools.com/files/employees/teachers/ap/_docs/APIB.pdf

-decisions decisions

Patrick said...

A friend of mine had one child take several AP classes at Garfield and another child in the IB program at Ingraham, and says the IB program is significantly more challenging. For what that's worth.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone with high school or college kids have any input on AP vs. running start? (IB won't apply unless they expand it, which seems unlikely, as we don't live in the assignment area of any of the high schools that have the IB program). I'm interested mainly in how much credit you actually get/ how much money & time you'll actually save in college - I'm assuming my kids would stay in-state for college.

Thanks,

Mom of 4

Anonymous said...

Whether IB is "better than AP" is debatable. It depends on the kid and their interests and learning style. The IB approach is more about the connections across disciplines and the IB diploma requires coursework across a range of subjects, whereas AP can be done "a la carte" style and thus can be more tailored to individual interests.

Additionally, they can be very different in terms of college credits and placement awarded, if that's an interest. IB "standard level" exams often aren't accepted for college credit, just the "higher level" ones. And even with HL exams, the credits awarded can really differ by institution. At UW you can often earn more credit--and skip to a higher level class--via AP exams. For example, you can earn credit through Math 125 via AP Calc BC, but only through Math 124 with IB Math; you can earn 10 English credits with AP vs. only 5 with IB; and you can earn credit for CSE 142 and 143 via AP Computer Science AB, but not via IB Comp Sci. I understand there are some colleges that award more/higher credit for some IB classes than AP, however, so it might be worth investigating if these issues are important to your family.

HIMSmom

Lynn said...

Mom of 4,

If a student takes full time running start classes in their junior and senior years, they can graduate with two years of college credit. I believe those credits transfer directly into our state four year schools. That's a much higher savings than AP classes.

Anonymous said...

It really depends on your student's plans for college and beyond - Do they want credit in order to earn their degree earlier? Do they want to be accepted into selective colleges? A Whitman College admission rep suggested the IB diploma was looked upon more highly than Running Start classes. Oregon State offers renewable scholarships to those scoring 30 and above on their IB diploma. When your child is only in 8th grade, it's hard to look that far ahead when making the choice, isn't it?

-MS parent

Anonymous said...

For classes to count toward the official IB diploma, the student has to be age 16-19. This makes an IB diploma difficult if your student won't be 16 until senior year.

LisaG

Anonymous said...

Huh? I think that's a general guideline, not a hard and fast rule. It's at the school's discretion.

Melissa Westbrook said...

My sons both did Running Start and took AP classes. I think we saved more money with Running Start. But I think any effort to reach higher - AP, IB or Running Start - appeals to college admissions officers.

Anonymous said...

Mom of 4,

You'll save time and money going the RS route, but you'll also likely face some limitations in what you're able to take. Doing RS, those first two years of college might include some classes that you'd otherwise complete prior to college, so there could be less time left to take as many upper division courses as desired. (For example, you might spend one year of RS on calculus, whereas if you go the AP route you could potentially test out of that and move on to a more advanced math class at the outset. It seems my son was able to get to a certain level of math a year sooner via the AP route than would have been possible through RS, and that was important to him.) That can also impact the strength of one's transcript when applying to grad schools, although I assume other factors are more important at that point...

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

The AP tests are a $100 a pop though there are scholarships available. RS and IB are free.

HP

Lynn said...

There is a $280 fee to take a single IB exam. Running Start students pay no tuition but must buy their own textbooks. This can easily be more than $100 per class.

Anonymous said...

Even though you have to pay for the exams, it's still far less expensive than college credits. AP classes and RS classes shaved significant time and thousands of dollars off our kids' college bills.

sidneyd

Anonymous said...

I've heard that Ingraham IB is much stronger in humanities than math and science. Comments?
Deciding

Anonymous said...

I remember colleges only allowing credit for a limited number of AP courses or credits, so if you take over the limit you will have to spend at college to earn those credits again. Check the college websites. It makes the A P thing kind of a rip off. State colleges take the whole associates degree... Which saves big bucks in college, potentially well more than a year tuition.
West

Melissa Westbrook said...

West is right; DO check colleges/universities that your child may be considering. You want to make sure what they will and will not accept.

Jet City mom said...

East coast universities are not always familiar with running start.
IB can be pretty intensive for students, then again some AP classes arent as well designed as " regular" classes.
It really depends on the teacher in high school as well as college.
Some students do much better in runnng start, particularly if they have aligned courses in the high school, time wise, so they dont have big gaps, or conversely, if they are taking virtually all their courses at the community college.
The students at a CC theoretically are more mature than high school students, which can make it more interesting for those who are frustrated with disruptions in a high school class.
Ive known several students personally who did two years of Running Start and transferred to strong schools as juniors. University of Chicago and Oberlin, for example.
AP courses are not accepted at all schools. If an AP course, nay, many AP courses are appropriate for you as a high school student, the best fit for college may not be one that grants credit for a 3 or a 4.
Some schools will only accept advanced placement in language and that would be after their own evaluation.
If your student is interested in IB, I wouldnt worry if they arent going for the diploma.
My niece did not, and she graduated Summa cum laude from Colgate.
If they take only a few " enriched" courses, I also wouldnt freak out.
My kids just took a few courses( one took 4 APs, the other took an honors course), they each were accepted to all the schools they applied, one now has a grad degree and the other is looking at grad schools.
Of course, they may have had a small hook in that their parents did not have an educational background.
Reed doesn't have a huge number of kids who are first gen college.
If the point of an education is to get the best preparation for indepth work, checking off the boxes so save time& money may not be in your best long range interest. If you are maxing out APs at Garfield, and are accepted at Georgetown, do you really want to rush through that opportunity in two years?
If you are really that academically inclined, you might as well skip high school altogether, and enroll in EEP when you are 13 or so and really save money at the UW.

Its really unfortunate that the nation and the district is allowing The College Board to decide what makes up high school curriculum.
The Marine Biology course at Garfield, is just one course that is easily as rigorous as a college course, but designed from the ground up.

Lynn said...

The Marine Biology class at Garfield uses the curriculum for a UW class and is another way to get early college credit.

Anonymous said...

My oldest went to a private high school and had no AP classes, there were no honors classes and no running start. He got into a very good university and was on the dean's list last semester. Some schools put weight on AP classes and some don't.

HP

Anonymous said...

I've had kids in both IB and AP (at Ingraham and Garfield, respectively) and some Running Start experience. Standard level (SL) IB courses are not as rigorous as AP courses. Some higher level (HL) IB courses are more rigorous than AP, but it depends upon the teacher/subject. IB humanities courses at Ingraham are much stronger than IB math and science at Ingraham, with the exception of HL Biology. Running Start is a mixed bag. We've found that the student cohort tends not to be as engaged/motivated/capable as one sees in a high school HCC classroom; sometimes this doesn't matter as the college professor teaches at a high level anyway and expects the kids to rise to the challenge, but often it seems that the college professor brings things down to the lowest common denominator.

All of our kids were grateful to have some college credit courses when they started college. But they didn't use it to get through college in fewer years. Rather, it was a great opportunity to waive out of basic (and oversubscribed) intro courses, and so they could more quickly start taking more interesting upper division courses.

mom

Anonymous said...

Running Start is a mixed bag. We've found that the student cohort tends not to be as engaged/motivated/capable as one sees in a high school HCC classroom.

My student has experienced the same thing at UW, making getting to those upper division courses ASAP that much more appealing. To maximize speed and minimize the cost of college, do Running Start. To maximize the learning and challenge, take a lot of AP/IB courses in high school and then use them to bypass some of the less-inspiring lower division prerequisites in college. The best path depends on your priorities.

@ Deciding, there was a discussion of Ingraham math a while back, which you may find useful. Here's a link.

HIMSmom

Jet City mom said...

High school classrooms, at least the AP classes are not actually HCC, the way I understand it.
At Garfield AP courses are open to anyone who wants to take them, at least they were when my daughter was there( she graduated college in 2014)
She was allowed to take AP courses at the same time she was taking support classes in other subjects. A refreshing change from schools that require you to be advanced or at least at grade level in everything before you can move ahead in anything.
Actually a good size group of students were in remedial math at the same time they were taking AP courses.
It wasnt the kids fault, it was the way math was covered in middle school. Many of them went on to be quite successful, and we really appreciated the extra mile that many of the Garfield teachers travel, in order to support ALL of the students.

Maureen said...

I have kids who (1) maxed out on AP at RHS and (2) full IB at IHS. Agree with mom and HIMSmom above--it depends: (1) on the kid: (a) in it for challenge (b) wants out fast (c) math/science vs. humanities vs. art vs CS...(d)other and (2) on the kid's goals: (a) get through college fast and cheap (b) get into the best possible college (c) be in with a certain cohort (i)intellectual (ii) not, but motivated (d) other .......

And there are other things, like bus rides and sports and ECs and friends.....

So, it depends.

Do some research. This conversation is a good start.

Anonymous said...


I have had different kids do up to 12 AP exams & the complete IB diploma.

One difference between AP & IB is that you can take AP exams without taking the class. IB exam grades include externally & internally graded assessments of research, orals, papers, etc so you have to take the class. Students who speak another language at home or have a hobby or summer class in an AP topic can take advantage of AP testing if they are trying to get college credits.

Also, IB limits the number of exams you can take, so even if you take more classes you can not take more exams.

I see the difference as IB is more like a liberal arts college, learning to think deeply in ways that can be applied to many different subjects, while AP is more about learning the subject material the way you do at a university. IB assesses how you think about a topic, why did you think about it that way, how does that inform your exploration of other topics, AP assesses what you know about a topic. IB HL math is more about proofs, AP Calc AB/BC is more about working the problem correctly. IB may take a historic change (like revolution) & look at it in different times & places, where AP history would take a time & place and learn the events chronologically.

SPS high schools have different cultures. Many high schoolers define their experience by EC's. That may make a bigger difference in a student's experience than whether it's IB or AP. Running start is available at all high schools.

-HS parent

Anonymous said...

Garfield High School supports ALL students??? Well that's news to families with disabilities! The principal dug his heels in at even following Kevin's Law (allowing students with disabilities to "walk" with their class even if they are doing Transition programs), and now we hear there's an awesome "Do the Garbage" program... perfect for students with disabilities. Doesn't matter that Garbage isn't a research based curriculum. It's good enough for Garfield special ed students to do for hours and hours every day. I guess the custodians are getting a great break!

Sped Reader

Anonymous said...

Sped reader -- this is very deplorable news. My SPED kid had (overall) a great experience at Garfield. Graduated on time, and is doing ok in college (on a part time schedule). Are these new programs/policies? Is there any way that concerned people who are not current parents can find out more and/or get involved?

SPEDBulldogMom

Anonymous said...

Sped reader - what us "Do the Garbage"? Sounds appalling and absurd. -NP

Anonymous said...

Ask around. Yep, new this year. High School level "recycling" available as a 4 year class at Garfield, following in the illustrious footsteps of Nathan Hale HS, which does the same. Mandatory for SM4 students. Doesn't matter if it makes sense or not, your kid is doing it. If that isn't enough, the district's 18-21 programs also features forced "recycling" as a course of study... in case 4 years wasn't enough for mastery. Garfield's is particularly awful because students with disabilities are forced to actually sift the garbage. Other students have even noticed the fact that this is foisted on kids with disabilities.

Right. Appalling. Unfortunately, a reality.

Sped R

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