AP in Career and Technical Education: They go together

April 9, 2014 at 1:15 am 2 comments

If states offer career and technical education in pathways (typically 3-4 courses) with a pathway completion exam, they are eligible for Perkins legislation funding to pay for staff and equipment.  If AP CS is one of those courses, it’s easier to build the pathway (2-3 courses to define, rather than 3-4) and the pathway is more likely to lead to college-level CS, if a student so chooses.  But as the below report mentions, many states believe that Perkins legislation disallows the AP to count.  It can, and here’s the report describing how.

If you’re hearing this story in your state, be sure to send your department of education this report!

Career and Technical Education and Advanced Placement (July 2013, PDF)

Traditionally Advanced Placement® (AP) courses and exams have not been recommended for students in Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. This paper, jointly developed and released by NASDCTEc and the College Board aims to bust this myth by showing how AP courses and exams can be relevant to a student’s program of study across the 16 Career Clusters®.

via National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium : Policy & Legislation : Issue Briefs & Papers.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. alfredtwo  |  April 9, 2014 at 11:57 am

    I’ve been a bit of s skeptic about the APCS exam, especially as it is laid out these days, for some time. I’m even more skeptical of it as part of a career/technical school curriculum. I’ve been involved with a good number of Programming and Web Development programs in career/technical schools in Massachusetts and New Hampshire over the last 10 years or so and none of them offer the APCS course.

    Honestly they don’t have real interest in it either. It is not because they think it isn’t permitted for them but that they don’t see it as being as valuable as what they do offer. Creating a 3 or 4 year sequence of their own that is customized for their program is seen as an opportunity rather than as something to avoid.

    Most of these schools work hard to place students on coop jobs as seniors and so look to teach concepts in a context that will make these students more useful for potential coops. Yes most of these students will go on to college (some two-year and some four-year) but these schools see the coops as more useful to their students than the APCS exam would be.

    For those who are thinking of college credit, and many are, they look towards articulation agreements with local community colleges. These options tend to work well for their students who are often not the type to do well in a typical college prep high school.

    Something that would be interesting data is how well career/tech school graduates do in college and compare that to APCS students.

    • 2. Mark Guzdial  |  April 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      Most states don’t have career/technical schools as separate from high schools. I know that’s the case in Massachusetts, but I know that it’s not the case in most states that I’m working in. Georgia has “Technical Schools” but they’re “Technical Colleges” in parallel to the University System. In most high schools in most of the US, “Career/Technical” is a classification for classes that are taught in those high schools. CS is classified as “Career/Tech” in most states in the US.

      We could say: “We’ll teach these CS classes in high schools as Career/Tech, and prepare students for jobs. Someone else can worry about AP CS, maybe the Math or Science department.” But that means that (a) the majority of CS classes (the ones taught by the Career/Tech department) won’t connect to or lead to AP CS and (b) the students who take AP CS will have no previous CS classes. This isn’t the way to attract college-bound high school students into CS, nor is it the way to give career/tech students the opportunity to take AP CS and possibly get a nudge into University.


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