• Advanced Placement Program Overview


    The AP Program

    The College Board"s Advanced Placement (AP) Program enables students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. Based on their performance on rigorous AP Exams, students can earn credit, advanced placement, or both, for college. AP courses are very challenging courses that colleges like to see on high school transcripts. They, similar to IB courses, are the most rigorous courses that the Brandywine School District offers and are excellent preparation for college.


    Registration for AP exams takes place in late winter (February-March). AP exams prepared by the College Board are given in May, and are graded by the College Board on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being the highest (see Taking Advanced Placement or Advanced Credit or Neither below). Scores are reported in mid-July.


    AP Teacher Preparation and the AP Audit

    Teachers who teach the AP courses attend professional development, provided through the College Board, so that they are most current with the content of the course they are teaching. All AP courses follow Course Descriptions distributed by the College Board and are available on the AP Central website. Using input from a breadth of Colleges and Universities, the AP Course Descriptions provide a list of topics that are covered in each AP course and set the level of rigor to that of the college expectations. AP courses found in individual schools follow the curriculum designed by the AP teacher which is submitted to the College Board for an audit.


    AP teachers submit an audit to the College Board before a course can be designated AP on a student’s transcript. The audit consists of the plan the AP teacher has for the entire course, including the curriculum, labs, projects, field trips, etc. A panel of college professors reviews the audits for each teacher to ensure that the AP course taught at the high school level is equivalent to an introductory course in a college. Guidance in the audit process is available for the AP teachers through the district and through the College Board.


    AP Offerings

    Thirty-seven courses and exams in 22 subject areas are offered by the College Board. The Brandywine School District supports only those courses that are driven by student interest, align with courses required by most college majors, and/or can be counted as courses required for High School graduation. Each of the Brandywine School District high schools offer the following courses (some courses are offered on alternate years)


    Brandywine HS
     

    AP Art

    AP Biology

    AP Calculus AB & BC

    AP English Language

    AP English Literature

    AP European History

    AP French

    AP Physics B

    AP Psychology

    AP Spanish

    AP Statistics

    AP US Government

    AP US History

    AP World History
    Concord HS
     

    AP Art

    AP Biology

    AP Calculus AB & BC

    AP Chemistry

    AP Computer Science

    AP English Language

    AP English Literature

    AP European History

    AP Physics B & C

    AP Spanish

    AP Statistics

    AP US Government

    AP US History

    AP World History

    Mount Pleasant High School*
     

    AP Art

    AP Biology

    AP Calculus

    AP English Language

    AP English Literature

    AP European History

    AP Microeconomics

    AP Music Theory

    AP Physics

    AP US History


    AP Awards

    The AP program has several AP awards to recognize exceptional performance by AP students. These include AP Scholar (granted to students who receive grades of 3 or higher on 3 or more AP exams on full-year courses), AP Scholar with Honor (granted to students who receive an average grade of 3.25 or higher on all AP exams taken and grades of 3 or higher on 4 or more of these exams on full-year courses), and AP Scholar with Distinction (granted to students who receive an average grade of 3. 5 or higher on all AP exams taken and grades of 3 or higher on 5 or more of these exams on full-year courses). Students in any grade may take AP courses (as long as any prerequisites are completed) and AP exams.


    Recognition by Colleges

    Colleges generally recognize AP courses and are familiar with the AP curriculum. The extent to which colleges will give credit or placement varies among colleges. Most colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, as well as colleges and universities in 40 other countries, have a policy granting incoming students credit, placement, or both, for qualifying AP Exam grades. The best source of specific and up-to-date information about an individual institution"s policy is its catalog or Web site.


    Taking Advanced Placement or Advanced Credit or Neither

    The AP program is about opportunities. There are no guarantees that just because a student completed an AP course, they will receive college credit. However, research supports that simply the exposure to the high expectations of an AP course and experiences in preparing for an AP exam will have positive effects on college preparedness even when students do not earn a passing score. The AP program exists as an opportunity for students to challenge themselves to reach high college level academic standards while still in the supportive high school environment.


    Once The College Board receives results on AP exams, they convert the results to a 5-point scale. A 5 indicates that a student is “extremely well qualified” to receive advanced college credit or placement for the equivalent course, while a 4 is “well qualified”, a 3 is “qualified, a 2 is “possibly qualified”, and a 1 has “no recommendation”. A score of 3, 4, or 5 is often viewed as a passing score. When students do earn a passing score, there are no guarantees that a college will accept the credit. Colleges do this for various reasons and many handle AP scores in different ways. Some will give the credit but ask that students audit or sit for the course. Some will ask that students take a secondary examination to skip over courses. Sometimes it comes down to what the student wants to major in and a college won’t decide how credit or placement will occur until a student declares a major. Many times a student will want to deny the credit and advanced placement the college offers so that they can catch the finer details of the course by seeing it all again, start building a strong GPA, get to know key professors, and look for opportunities to tutor. Again, it comes down to opportunities.


    Not all AP courses are the same

    It should be recognized that the College Board does not determine the content of each AP course, generate the test items, or grade the exams. It merely facilitates the coordination between college and university expectations, high school teachers, and the Educational Testing Service (ETS). This allows the AP courses to better reflect what will be seen in the equivalent college courses which are in perpetual change in response to factors such as the job market. The challenge is that some students may find success in one AP class and not another. This should be taken into consideration before signing up for AP courses.


    As examples, there are some, yet not all, science courses that require multiple years of instruction with additional time devoted to lab work. Other courses require portfolio submissions and some require audio recordings. Some require specific prerequisites while others may not.


    Predictors of Success

    An obvious concern is exposing students to college level course work before they are ready. It is one thing to challenge them with rigor but quite another to overwhelm them with stress and frustration. As creators of both the AP and the PSAT, the College Board has used vast amounts of data over the years to draw correlations between the two exams. This way, the PSAT sub-scores in Mathematics, Critical Reading, and Writing can serve as “predictors”, not necessarily of success, but of where the breaking point may be. Below are expectancy charts that can be used help students decide if they can handle a particular AP course. A 60% or above for a 3 is a healthy cutoff point.




    m




    mcr




    mcrw



    crw

     
     
    Click Here  for AP Program FAQs
     
    Click Here   for AP / College Board links