Failure rate for AP tests climbing

February 7, 2010 at 9:38 am 3 comments

That the average AP score would decline while more students take the AP is really not surprising.  It’s a pretty common phenomenon: as more new, initially-underprepared students flood in, the average is drawn down.  We’re seeing this in Georgia with the schools that are just starting AP CS (many at minority-majority high schools).  It’s going to take some time for the teachers to get better, for the school to figure out how to best prepare the students.

What I found more interesting is that Physics scores are rising, while English Literature scores are declining.  Why would that be?

The newspaper’s analysis finds that more than two in five students (41.5%) earned a failing score of 1 or 2, up from 36.5% in 1999. In the South, a Census-defined region that spans from Texas to Delaware, nearly half of all tests — 48.4% — earned a 1 or 2, a failure rate up 7 percentage points from a decade prior and a statistically significant difference from the rest of the country.

College Board officials say it’s misleading to lump all scores together, because some tests have vastly different historical pass rates. Scores on AP Physics tests, for example, are consistently up; those for AP English Literature are dropping.

via Failure rate for AP tests climbing –

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , .

Minority Male Plight Demands Broad U.S. Action, College Board Says Beginning to Rethink CS Education at NSF

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tom Hoffman  |  February 7, 2010 at 10:39 am

    When’s the last time you heard about a federally funded initiative to improve instruction in English Literature?

    • 2. Mark Guzdial  |  February 7, 2010 at 4:50 pm

      That does imply that federally funded initiatives help. 🙂
      I do agree, Tom, but the article claims that this is a change. What changed? Either we’ve gotten better recently in physics ed, or we’re getting worse at teaching literature.

  • 3. Jim Huggins  |  April 27, 2010 at 8:53 am

    One thing the article doesn’t say: what’s going on with the overall number of students taking each particular exam. If, for example, there’s been a sudden influx of students taking AP Lit, that could easily account for the drop in pass rates.

    Plus, I suspect that if a school district is planning on starting to offer AP, AP Lit may be an obvious place to start. You don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to teach literature … while you do in order to teach physics, or CS.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 10,184 other subscribers


Recent Posts

Blog Stats

  • 2,053,480 hits
February 2010

CS Teaching Tips

%d bloggers like this: