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Old 24-04-2012, 10:57   #31
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Re: Did AP Classes cut into your kids summer of boating?

speaking as someone who almost had their daughter educated in the US, I found the AP system perverse. Surely all you should be concentrating on when at a particular schooling level is doing well at that level. You cross the next bridge when you come to it and in theory the system prepares you for that point. With the AP system you try and cross all the bridges at the start , so you wont have some bridges to cross in the future.

only my opinion though ( ogh the other perverse thing was I could only access the public school based on where I lived!, I always wondered why realtors knew everything about school districts, then I found out why?).

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Old 24-04-2012, 11:35   #32
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Re: Did AP Classes cut into your kids summer of boating?

Short answer to the OP is "no", the courseload didn't disrupt my children's summers.

I am the parent of two very happy, well-adjusted kids in their 20's who were excellent students in a highly regarded private high school. The older is a math and computer guy who took the equivalent of two AP years of math because he loved it and was done with calculus as a sophomore. Otherwise, he took regular classes. No summer homework for his AP classes.

My daughter graduated from the same high school in 2007. She took AP level Spanish because that's the level she was at and wanted to keep going. Once again, no summer classwork expectations for her AP classes.

Both of them used their advanced coursework to place into higher level classes in college. They didn't get credit in the sense that they had less of a courseload, but they were able to take the more advanced classes they wanted from the start.

I would say that some of the generalizations on this thread are pretty interesting. The idea that high level, well taught classes that stretch students' abilities will turn them off from learning is, IMNHO, far from the general case. My children love to learn and succeed from that enjoyment. They were more turned off by classes that were poorly taught and didn't stretch their mental muscles than they were by the higher level ones. In so far as I can remember the fog of my own high school experience, my memory is the same. The mundane classes put me off learning. The hard ones engaged me.
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Old 24-04-2012, 13:08   #33
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Re: Did AP Classes cut into your kids summer of boating?

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Originally Posted by Doodles View Post
I think it's more like we're getting a lot of kids who are very "educated" but don't know how to learn. They know how to take test and give answers back but no critical thinking abilities, no creativity. And the comment about Harvard and Stanford is spot on. Not that they aren't great and open doors but there are tons of others that will do just as good a job. "Image" is not really everything we're told it is.

Kids need a lot more art, music and such, things that develop the right-side of their brains as well.

"
Originally Posted by Rakuflames
My opinion is that we're going to end up with a lot of very smart kids who know how to learn but no longer want to learn. The current emphasis on homework is particularly oppressive, and GOOD research shows that homework has virtually no effect on achievement. That's the truth. AP classes are a little different because if the student does well (3 or higher on the national tests) it counts as college credit, but there is more to life than getting into Harvard or Stanford.

I also worry that we will have a bunch of kids who didn't have time to learn a musical instrument, or take an art class and find out that they could excel at pottery, or have time for the track team, etc.


I think it's more like we're getting a lot of kids who are very "educated" but don't know how to learn. They know how to take test and give answers back but no critical thinking abilities, no creativity. And the comment about Harvard and Stanford is spot on. Not that they aren't great and open doors but there are tons of others that will do just as good a job. "Image" is not really everything we're told it is.

Kids need a lot more art, music and such, things that develop the right-side of their brains as well.
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I think we have to separate top students from average or lower students when it comes to critical thinking. My daughters absolutely were taught critical thinking skills in high school. The one who took five AP classes absolutely got more of than the other one did.
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Old 24-04-2012, 16:11   #34
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Re: Did AP Classes cut into your kids summer of boating?

I was in grade school when the dumbing down of the US school system occurred. At one time there WAS no AP because the usual courses were challenging enough for ALL students. It wasn't until the material was watered down to the point the the slowest student could pass it with failing that the problem emerged.

Return the course work to standard, and force the slower students to retake it until they knew that grades requirements???...NO... Create a second tier of classes for the smart ones so both can get straight A's, so no ones feelings are hurt.
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Old 24-04-2012, 18:03   #35
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Re: Did AP Classes cut into your kids summer of boating?

Cap'n Bill- too bad the key to the CEO's $30M yacht wasn't on that keychain they gave you!

Where we live in NE Seattle, there is a lot of pressure, from parents, from counselors, etc. pushing kids to the AP classes. My daughter, in the 7th grade and with all A's with not too much effort, is already being pushed to look at AP (she was already moved up a year in Math), Our neighbor, whose daughter is truly a gifted young lady, was pushed from elementary school, was pushed to leave HS at 15 1/2 to enter a "Young Scholars" program at the University of Washington and now she is, at age 17, finishing her sophomore year and is truly miserable. There are 8 kids in the program on a 40,000 student campus. They are the only kids on campus she has anything at all in common with.

There is a lot a value in allowing kids to take things at their own pace.
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Old 24-04-2012, 18:18   #36
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Re: Did AP Classes cut into your kids summer of boating?

Another teacher's-eye view:

In the faculty culture of most high schools, it's a status thing to teach AP courses, and this honor is usually reserved for the faculty with sufficient credentials to teach at the collegiate level. Faculty enjoy teaching these courses because they tend to attract the most engaged students, which means that disciplinary problems in class are minimal. However, in the college preps, faculty are only retained in the AP program if they have a high percentage of students scoring high enough on the exams to earn college credit. If only 20% of your students earn 4s and 5s, you'll find yourself teaching at the remedial level in no time. And the remedial level is where the greatest percentage of discipline problems surface.

What this means is that the teachers push to cover more and more content with the students every year, including extra study sessions the month before the exam. So now we hear that some teachers are starting to require summer study for AP classes. This is probably a new way to keep the percentages high enough for those AP teachers to keep the position teaching at the highest level.

We've created a monster.
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Old 24-04-2012, 18:40   #37
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Re: Did AP Classes cut into your kids summer of boating?

My sister was much better at 'book' learning than I am. I like practical hands-on type of experience to learn. Now both of us graduated college, and she is a doctor and I am an engineer.

However, in our personal life, she handled the high demands of schoolwork better than me. She had more friends and a better social life back in school. I came close to having a mental breakdown when after putting in all the time and work to graduate, I was a failure because I couldn't find a job...

Every kid is different. I would still like a summer vacation every year and don't understand why we don't get a few weeks/month off each summer. I don't know exactly where I would be if I took the 'easier' route. Maybe better, maybe not. I might not feel as burnt out though, and have some better memories of my teenage years.
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Old 24-04-2012, 19:39   #38
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Re: Did AP Classes cut into your kids summer of boating?

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Originally Posted by capn_billl View Post
I was in grade school when the dumbing down of the US school system occurred. At one time there WAS no AP because the usual courses were challenging enough for ALL students. It wasn't until the material was watered down to the point the the slowest student could pass it with failing that the problem emerged.

Return the course work to standard, and force the slower students to retake it until they knew that grades requirements???...NO... Create a second tier of classes for the smart ones so both can get straight A's, so no ones feelings are hurt.

You went to an entirely different school district than I did; one unlike any I taught in; and completely unlike the one my chidren went to. That covers a 61 year time span.

Unless you went to a very small high school, at no time have all students taken all the work. In addition, students who are retained, even once, are FOUR times as likely to drop out of high school without graduating as similar students who were not retained. Children view being retained as being a devastating as having a parent die.

Rather than dumbing down, in fact our curricula have become more and more advanced at earlier and earlier grades. Just to give one example, children are now learning multiplication facts in second grade instead of third. I learned the periodic table in tenth grade when i took chemistry, and not all students took chemistry. My daughters had it in sixth grade, and all students covered it. There was nothing exceptional in this; it was a standard sixth grade textbook used widely across the country.

in the 50's, when my sister was in high school, leaving without graduating to enter a trade was acceptable for students who were not academically inclined. When I went to high school in the sixties, for example, we had "practical math" for the students who would not be taking algebra.

The AP classes are *not* what we used to take in high school. The AP classes my daughter took were quite challenging. Her younger sister did not take AP classes, so the difference was quite evident in our home. My high school did not have AP classes, but mathematically talented students could take Algebra I in eighth grade and then take more advanced math in high school (assuming the school was big enough to support those classes). We had biology for all, and advanced biology and physics for exceptional science students.

This is my field -- why students succeed and fail, and how the curriculum has and has not changed over the years, what's on the achievement tests, etc. The great majority of platitudes we sometimes want to believe about education are wrong.

Hey, I don't tell engineers how to build bridges, but this is something I know about.
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Old 24-04-2012, 19:46   #39
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Re: Did AP Classes cut into your kids summer of boating?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
Another teacher's-eye view:

In the faculty culture of most high schools, it's a status thing to teach AP courses, and this honor is usually reserved for the faculty with sufficient credentials to teach at the collegiate level. Faculty enjoy teaching these courses because they tend to attract the most engaged students, which means that disciplinary problems in class are minimal. However, in the college preps, faculty are only retained in the AP program if they have a high percentage of students scoring high enough on the exams to earn college credit. If only 20% of your students earn 4s and 5s, you'll find yourself teaching at the remedial level in no time. And the remedial level is where the greatest percentage of discipline problems surface.

What this means is that the teachers push to cover more and more content with the students every year, including extra study sessions the month before the exam. So now we hear that some teachers are starting to require summer study for AP classes. This is probably a new way to keep the percentages high enough for those AP teachers to keep the position teaching at the highest level.

We've created a monster.

Different pressures are making elementary curricula more and more difficult. Achievement tests HAVE to have items on them that are too hard for the great majority of students. That's the only way it can sift out the highest-performing students. So the second grade achievement test would have a few multiplication facts on them. As pressure mounted to use achievement tests to judge teacher competency (sort of like trying to drive a nail with a screwdriver, the wrong tool for the job), teachers saw those items and DEMANDED textbooks that reflected ALL the content of the tests. Teachers serve on committees that choose districts' textbooks and they rejected tests that didn't introduce multiplication facts in second grade.

So then the test writers had to use different, even harder items to pick out the top performing students, and then teachers wanted THAT in second grade textbooks.

The content of achievement tests absolutely determines what is taught.

"Grade level," by the way, is a completely arbitrary number. It means nothing, and any teacher who can't teach with students below grade average in his or her classroom is an incompetent teacher. If new, he or she should be mentored. If experienced, he or she should find another profession.
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Old 24-04-2012, 19:50   #40
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Re: Did AP Classes cut into your kids summer of boating?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SunDevil View Post
My sister was much better at 'book' learning than I am. I like practical hands-on type of experience to learn. Now both of us graduated college, and she is a doctor and I am an engineer.

However, in our personal life, she handled the high demands of schoolwork better than me. She had more friends and a better social life back in school. I came close to having a mental breakdown when after putting in all the time and work to graduate, I was a failure because I couldn't find a job...

Every kid is different. I would still like a summer vacation every year and don't understand why we don't get a few weeks/month off each summer. I don't know exactly where I would be if I took the 'easier' route. Maybe better, maybe not. I might not feel as burnt out though, and have some better memories of my teenage years.

That's exactly why we should not be retaining students. If the method you used to teach them didn't work the first time, plowing them through it the same way the second way is unlikely to do any more good. There is more than one kind of learner on this planet, and if a student isn't able to learn the basic concepts, it's time to find out why.

When I was young, the kid with an IQ of 80 took practical math or maybe didn't graduate, but went on to work at the gas station or grocery store, or maybe swept floors or dug ditches, but he bought a home, raised a family, contributed to society.

Today, he's expected to understand the periodic table in sixth grade and pass Algebra. He's really going to need that algebra to restock the shelves ...
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Old 24-04-2012, 20:22   #41
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Re: Did AP Classes cut into your kids summer of boating?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
Another teacher's-eye view:

In the faculty culture of most high schools, it's a status thing to teach AP courses, and this honor is usually reserved for the faculty with sufficient credentials to teach at the collegiate level. Faculty enjoy teaching these courses because they tend to attract the most engaged students, which means that disciplinary problems in class are minimal. However, in the college preps, faculty are only retained in the AP program if they have a high percentage of students scoring high enough on the exams to earn college credit. If only 20% of your students earn 4s and 5s, you'll find yourself teaching at the remedial level in no time. And the remedial level is where the greatest percentage of discipline problems surface.

What this means is that the teachers push to cover more and more content with the students every year, including extra study sessions the month before the exam. So now we hear that some teachers are starting to require summer study for AP classes. This is probably a new way to keep the percentages high enough for those AP teachers to keep the position teaching at the highest level.

We've created a monster.
Bingo.

To add to the attraction for the teachers, at my daughter's school, the teachers with AP course get extra prep time paid for as well. They hang like a dog to a bone on those classes...

... Man... this is so off topic I should be modding myself... but still such an interesting group with such diverse perspectives. Fascinating!

One of the other mods can come smack us if needed ; -)
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Old 24-04-2012, 20:28   #42
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Re: Did AP Classes cut into your kids summer of boating?

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
You went to an entirely different school district than I did; one unlike any I taught in; and completely unlike the one my chidren went to. That covers a 61 year time span.

Unless you went to a very small high school, at no time have all students taken all the work. In addition, students who are retained, even once, are FOUR times as likely to drop out of high school without graduating as similar students who were not retained. Children view being retained as being a devastating as having a parent die.

Rather than dumbing down, in fact our curricula have become more and more advanced at earlier and earlier grades. Just to give one example, children are now learning multiplication facts in second grade instead of third. I learned the periodic table in tenth grade when i took chemistry, and not all students took chemistry. My daughters had it in sixth grade, and all students covered it. There was nothing exceptional in this; it was a standard sixth grade textbook used widely across the country.

in the 50's, when my sister was in high school, leaving without graduating to enter a trade was acceptable for students who were not academically inclined. When I went to high school in the sixties, for example, we had "practical math" for the students who would not be taking algebra.

The AP classes are *not* what we used to take in high school. The AP classes my daughter took were quite challenging. Her younger sister did not take AP classes, so the difference was quite evident in our home. My high school did not have AP classes, but mathematically talented students could take Algebra I in eighth grade and then take more advanced math in high school (assuming the school was big enough to support those classes). We had biology for all, and advanced biology and physics for exceptional science students.

This is my field -- why students succeed and fail, and how the curriculum has and has not changed over the years, what's on the achievement tests, etc. The great majority of platitudes we sometimes want to believe about education are wrong.

Hey, I don't tell engineers how to build bridges, but this is something I know about.
I don't doubt what you say is true, but then why are kids less prepared to enter the workforce than they once were? I owned my own CPA firm and 25 years ago the graduates were much better prepared than today's. I'm talking about the ability to write full sentences, grammar, spelling, etc. Yes, they were book smart in some ways but in other ways behind, less mature in a general educational sense. IMHO
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Old 24-04-2012, 20:31   #43
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Re: Did AP Classes cut into your kids summer of boating?

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Bingo.

To add to the attraction for the teachers, at my daughter's school, the teachers with AP course get extra prep time paid for as well. They hang like a dog to a bone on those classes...

... Man... this is so off topic I should be modding myself... but still such an interesting group with such diverse perspectives. Fascinating!

One of the other mods can come smack us if needed ; -)
Hope not. I'm learning a lot from this thread.
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Old 25-04-2012, 02:21   #44
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Ive been lurking this thread from the start. It is nice to see education professionals chiming in.

I have two little ones and the eldest is getting ready for school in september. I have massive reservations as it seems that what the latest evidence on education theory recommends is not what is used and that schools are trapped teaching in ways that ensure they will continue to receive funding, teaching to the tests.

The idea of using a modern version of the socratic method that teaches students to question, teaches curiosity, teaches the hunger for knowledge is not on the table.

My 20month old has in the last month, as most do this age, come fully to grips with the power of words. She is insatiable. She will point at things and say "whas dis" and if you dont respond she will say louder and louder. She is inately hungry for knowledge, as all children are.

This seems to be crushed and lost for most kids by the time they leave high school and only continue education to enable better job prospects.

We are on the cusp of home schooling our girls...
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Old 25-04-2012, 02:42   #45
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Re: Did AP Classes cut into your kids summer of boating?

Consider your self blessed the your school distric has a good AP program and dont push kids into it.let them decide.
My grown kids former school thought it was ok to spend $100,000 on the marching band and $30,000 on AP
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