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Since being introduced in 1954, Advanced Placement Exams have been an esteemed factor in today’s high school education system. According to chalkbeat.org, the number of students taking AP exams in the years between 2001 and 2017 grew from about 820,000 to almost 3 million. AP exams boast to prepare students for college-level courses, but are they really worth it?
In September 2016, Paul Weinstein, a director of Johns Hopkins University's graduate program in public management, conducted a study where he checked out policies of the top 153 universities and colleges in the states. His study determined that 86% of them restrict AP credits in some way, according to CNBC. Three-fourths of colleges limited what AP subjects they accept credit from, while 38% limited the number of credits they award per students. Weinstein states that some will only accept a score of 4 or 5, while College Board, who manages AP exams, considers 3 as “qualified”.
For students taking AP classes, AP exams offer an affordable way to earn college credits, possibly reducing the amount of time it takes to earn a degree. AP exams typically cost $93 each exam, while the average cost of college credits per hour costs almost $600, according to studenloanhero.com. This will adds up to over $14,000 in a school year, then to over $71,000 for the 120 credits typically required for a four-year degree.
Tora Davidson, a tenth grader who is currently taking 5 AP classes, says “I believe that AP classes are worth it because they prepare you for college. You're doing college level work, which would allow you to know at least what a college class is like. Especially if you're taking a class you would want to major in in college (for example physics) then you'll see how in depth a college physics class goes, and it'll help you to further decide if you want to still major in it.” Nataly Castillo, another tenth grader, states “AP classes are only beneficial if you plan on studying the subject in college. If you plan on studying a subject like English Literature in college, then taking AP English Literature in high school would be beneficial. However, if you are taking a subject like AP Computer Science, and you aren’t interested in computer science, it will be a waste of time and an unnecessary load of stress.” In an Affinity Magazine article by Dominique Maderal, she claims that AP classes are only worth it for people who want to excel in that certain subject, but for others who aren’t as passionate as them, it places more stress on their daily lives. An unhealthy level of stress can cause mental health problems for students, a problem which is already on the rise in America. According to the teenmentalhealth.org, 1 in 5 young people suffer from a mental illness.
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Also, the higher the amount of people taking the AP test, the value of the test will go down, along with the scores of those who take them. When more and more students take AP exams, pass rates will decline, according to Naihobe Gonzalez, an economist at Mathematica Policy Research. This happens when educational access is broadened. Russell T. Warne, an assistant professor of psychology at Utah Valley University, conducted “remarkably little independent research” on the academic benefits of AP exams. Warne states “What we don’t know is if there is still value [in taking the course if you don’t pass the exam].” This poses a problem for high schools with low graduation rates and struggling students. Should these high schools use their best teachers and dedicate valuable resource towards giving AP classes for the few that are extra motivated?
In a Huffington Post article written by Bev Taylor, she states that instead of College Board offering credit for AP classes, they use the scores to allow students to opt out of courses. So in summary, students are paying almost $100 for a test that will subsequently not save them any money as promised. Students believe that the more AP classes you take, the higher chance you have of being accepted by top colleges. Ms. Taylor also says that high schools receive higher rankings when more and more students take AP exams, regardless of their score. She calls it “absurd”. Doing this can give false rankings to schools that may not be as challenging as parents hope.
Taking AP classes are up to students, however. Some students are up for a challenge when it comes to education, and it should be up to them to take however many classes as they wish to do.


Original text

Since being introduced in 1954, Advanced Placement Exams have been an esteemed factor in today’s high school education system. According to chalkbeat.org, the number of students taking AP exams in the years between 2001 and 2017 grew from about 820,000 to almost 3 million. AP exams boast to prepare students for college-level courses, but are they really worth it?
In September 2016, Paul Weinstein, a director of Johns Hopkins University's graduate program in public management, conducted a study where he checked out policies of the top 153 universities and colleges in the states. His study determined that 86% of them restrict AP credits in some way, according to CNBC. Three-fourths of colleges limited what AP subjects they accept credit from, while 38% limited the number of credits they award per students. Weinstein states that some will only accept a score of 4 or 5, while College Board, who manages AP exams, considers 3 as “qualified”.
For students taking AP classes, AP exams offer an affordable way to earn college credits, possibly reducing the amount of time it takes to earn a degree. AP exams typically cost $93 each exam, while the average cost of college credits per hour costs almost $600, according to studenloanhero.com. This will adds up to over $14,000 in a school year, then to over $71,000 for the 120 credits typically required for a four-year degree.
Tora Davidson, a tenth grader who is currently taking 5 AP classes, says “I believe that AP classes are worth it because they prepare you for college. You're doing college level work, which would allow you to know at least what a college class is like. Especially if you're taking a class you would want to major in in college (for example physics) then you'll see how in depth a college physics class goes, and it'll help you to further decide if you want to still major in it.” Nataly Castillo, another tenth grader, states “AP classes are only beneficial if you plan on studying the subject in college. If you plan on studying a subject like English Literature in college, then taking AP English Literature in high school would be beneficial. However, if you are taking a subject like AP Computer Science, and you aren’t interested in computer science, it will be a waste of time and an unnecessary load of stress.” In an Affinity Magazine article by Dominique Maderal, she claims that AP classes are only worth it for people who want to excel in that certain subject, but for others who aren’t as passionate as them, it places more stress on their daily lives. An unhealthy level of stress can cause mental health problems for students, a problem which is already on the rise in America. According to the teenmentalhealth.org, 1 in 5 young people suffer from a mental illness.
Frederick2


Also, the higher the amount of people taking the AP test, the value of the test will go down, along with the scores of those who take them. When more and more students take AP exams, pass rates will decline, according to Naihobe Gonzalez, an economist at Mathematica Policy Research. This happens when educational access is broadened. Russell T. Warne, an assistant professor of psychology at Utah Valley University, conducted “remarkably little independent research” on the academic benefits of AP exams. Warne states “What we don’t know is if there is still value [in taking the course if you don’t pass the exam].” This poses a problem for high schools with low graduation rates and struggling students. Should these high schools use their best teachers and dedicate valuable resource towards giving AP classes for the few that are extra motivated?
In a Huffington Post article written by Bev Taylor, she states that instead of College Board offering credit for AP classes, they use the scores to allow students to opt out of courses. So in summary, students are paying almost $100 for a test that will subsequently not save them any money as promised. Students believe that the more AP classes you take, the higher chance you have of being accepted by top colleges. Ms. Taylor also says that high schools receive higher rankings when more and more students take AP exams, regardless of their score. She calls it “absurd”. Doing this can give false rankings to schools that may not be as challenging as parents hope.
Taking AP classes are up to students, however. Some students are up for a challenge when it comes to education, and it should be up to them to take however many classes as they wish to do.


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