Published On: Friday, July 9, 2021|Categories: Education Info, Testing Strategies|

The College Board controls the AP system, SAT, PSAT, and other programs offered for a fee to schools. However, the pandemic restrictions produced changes in the Advanced Placement (AP) course and exam system. These changes, as well as changing attitudes about the benefits and fairness of AP, are affecting how many schools make use of them and Pre-AP courses.

What Are Pre-AP Courses?

Launched in 2018, the Pre-AP system supplements AP classes. Pre-AP courses give students a solid foundation in both subject material and in critical thinking before taking the more rigorous AP classes in future school years. For each supported Pre-AP course, College Board specifically provides:

  • A framework of concepts and information which teachers tailor to meet their own classroom needs
  • Instructional resources and suggested texts and other supporting materials
  • Assessments and checkpoints to gauge student learning and course effectiveness

Pre-AP courses offered by the College Board have a standard and an Honors level.

Issues With College Board and the AP System

Between pandemic precautions and increasing concerns over fairness, testing fees, financial oversight, and other issues, many schools no longer offer these classes. Many colleges and universities also see fewer benefits to requiring standardized tests. As of June 2021, the College Board removed the essay portion of the SAT, and SAT Subject Tests discontinued. In recent years, more schools terminated or modified numerous AP courses. This includes the reduction of free-response questions and scoring adjustments.

Further controversies embroiled the College Board in 2020 with a phishing scam to identify students planning to cheat on AP exams. The poorly implemented at-home versions of some AP exams presented technical difficulties and unfair testing situations.

Substantial concerns have been raised about the fairness of the system, from the cost of offering the courses (current costs for AP courses range from about $1,900 to as much as $11,650 per course) to the fees associated with taking the tests and having scores reported which can be major hurdles to disadvantaged school districts and students. Increasing costs and fees also do not seem to be reflected in obvious benefits to students or their schools and teachers.

Concerns About the Pre-AP Courses

While many of these issues about the College Board present legitimate concerns about the system as a whole, one of the primary concerns about the Pre-AP courses is a recent decision by College Board to charge schools $3,000 per course they choose to offer. These fees include other numerous fees already collected by the College Board from schools, students, and test-takers. This includes exam fees, canceled or unused exam fees, late order fees, and reporting fees.

Preparation for AP Courses

Teachers and administrators in numerous school districts are reexamining the value of Pre-AP courses. Instead, they provide their own courses to prepare students for future work in Advanced Placement classes. Students and families should not be concerned that students won’t be prepared without Pre-AP courses. Our signature one-on-one educational system ensures our students have the appropriate skills and preparation to successfully undertake AP. Should you have any concerns, please feel free to contact us with any questions.

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