I overheard a vigorous discussion between three moms after church Sunday about the demanding curriculum their kids are studying in high school Advanced Placement classes. The gist of the some of the discussion included worries that the kids are piling on classwork, homework and stress to the detriment of down time.
It may help those moms to know that one very prominent, successful high school in New York state is phasing out AP in favor of what it’s calling Advanced Topics classes.
A New York Times’ story details how a school in Scarsdale, NY, has instituted “AT” studies. AT courses are wider and deeper than AP and don’t have to adhere to the standards of the College Board’s strict placement exams. While AP students race through centuries of literature and black holes of physics, AT students discuss the controversial string theory and debate essays by Virginia Woolf. Read the story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/07/education/07advanced.html?_r=1&ref=education
AT is not without its detractors, but the discussion about the value of AP courses is certainly worth having as Washington state education continues to evolve.