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ADVANCED PLACMENT COURSES AND IB PROGRAMS: THEIR ROLE IN SERVICES FOR GIFTED STUDENTS. Carolyn Callahan University of Virginia [email protected] Background and Philosophies of the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Programs. Advanced Placement Courses.
University of Virginia
Impacts of AP and IB on:
And how did our findings corroborate other researchers’ findings?
“She uses a curriculum that is way below AP level or even honors level… she’s used to dealing with kids who don’t want to learn anything, and that’s kind of the way she treats us. I feel like she treats us like we’re in elementary school.” (Student Interview, Mill Valley HS)
Identify many advantages to teaching these courses
Believe their courses provide college-level challenge
Extraordinary pressure to teach to the exams
“When you keep hearing, you know, you’ve got to make these scores, you’ve got to have this many pass... you keep finding yourself going back to that idea of… okay, I’ve got to teach them this, this, and this, and well, this part of this isn’t tested, so I’ll leave that out and I’ll teach it to them next year.” (Teacher Interview, Swingback HS)
“She says she doesn’t know how to get these students to pass the AP test. She says that she’s going to have problems because of their backgrounds– she says they are mostly ‘deprived,’ their parents aren’t educated and never got through school, and that most of the parents are very young. Ms. Night says that the school is trying to get to that culture, to encourage them to work hard, but they don’t do their homework, they’re failing everything.” (Researcher Field Notes, Jackson HS)
“This year, the class was really incensed about the black legend and how they really felt that it underpinned American History II. So they, therefore, decided that would be their thesis topic. Once the AP test is over, then they would do two weeks of very intensive research. They work cooperatively in groups. Then the co-editors and I go down and have it published and I also let them talk to the principal about getting the money so they understand those kinds of relationships. Then we produce the book and we give one to each of our school board members. We put one in the Smithsonian. We put one in the local library. We keep one in our library.” (Teacher Interview, Jackson HS)
Determined by the tests and course guides
“When they get to the AP level classes, then everybody’s the same, pretty much. It’s much more homogeneous, and they’re always expecting you to teach to a much higher level.”
“When teaching AP students, you don’t have to spend time filling gaps and catching people up, and so you spend more time looking at things more in-depth.”
Later –consider implications for students from traditionally underserved populations
WHO ARE THEY?
GOOD TIME MANAGERS
“ The successful AP student is highly disciplined, confident, lacking in fear…and self-driven. They want to succeed and if they are not succeeding they talk to me about it.”
Teacher interview – Swingback High School
Starring: The College Board
“This looks good on college applications and stuff. This is what gets you into college.”
Oleander High School
“ (I) appreciate not being bothered with classmates that didn’t want to be there.”
“I’d rather be in AP classes than regular classes. That is why I am in AP –because I don’t want to be regular classes. BOOORRRING!”
Students who have taken AP and/or IB courses attribute their feelings of being academically prepared for college to these courses
Former IB Diploma Program students attributed strong academic skills in areas such as critical thinking and analytic writing as well as a strong content knowledge base to their IB
Students corroborate teacher perception of too much emphasis on end of course exams
“You don’t stop for anything. I mean that’s a train going one way and it’s not stopping for anything.” (Student Interview, Azalea HS)
“Our teacher spent so much time worrying about whether or not we were going to meet the time limit for the exam that we skimmed over everything.” (Student Interview, Mill Valley HS)
Higher mean performance on AP exams was related to better performance in first-year courses in those disciplines
Klopfenstein and Thomas, (2010) conclude, “there is no evidence from methodologically rigorous studies that AP experience causes students to be successful in college” (p. 170). A further concern is the lack of attention in any of the studies to “unobservable characteristics such as motivation and education aspirations” (p. 171).
Schools with higher percentages of students enrolled in AP courses but with low percentages passing AP exams did not have higher percentages of students graduating from college
“ AP appears to offer an advantage only to students who perform well on the AP exam” (Sadler, 2010).
“They talk to you like you are old already and know what is going on.”
What about the students who don’t make it in AP and IB classes?
“You have all these summer assignments to do. For English class, you have to read 2 books and do 10 note cards on them and pick out significant lines. We didn‘tdo that kind of stuff at my school, so I had no idea what I was talking about. I failed these note cards that I had no instruction on how to do. That’s like walking into traffic blindfolded. You just don’t know what you’re doing, and there’s no reason that you should have to do something that you’ve never had experience with or were exposed to.” (Student Interview, Marshall HS)
“If you are intelligent in a way that is more creative energy than being able to sit down and accept that geometry is geometry and you have to know it even though you don’t plan to use it, then IB classes are probably not for you. If you question these things, then you’re not going to do as well. That was my problem. I wanted to know why.”
Largely homogeneous group…“Yeah, I don’t like the attitudes of the people. You feel like they are intellectual Aryans. That’s one thing I don’t like about it. …I’m black, which is, you know, not hard to see. I’m in these classes which are, what, ten percent black. In government we got into this discussion about the Ku Klux Klan, and they’re like, “Why do you think it’s so bad?”...
8.Genuine concern for students and their progress, a general attitude, which confirmed by actions
9. Maintaining high academic standards but recognizing that minority students may require more and different kinds of support
10. Adopting strategies to nurture achievement such as chasing kids down at lunchtime, not giving up on them, having very strict policies
Provide AP teachers with more consistent and comprehensive training—requiring both subject area expertise and expertise in working with multiple subpopulations of high potential students-not just those who come signed, sealed and delivered as gifted
If minority and low-income students are to be successful ---