Some 9th Graders can (and should) take an AP Course


TO: Colleagues Leading High Schools

If you scrub on you performance data, and that of your feeder middle school(s) you will find that (in most schools and school districts) about 25-30% of your 9th graders can successfully complete an Advanced Placement Course.

I don’t necessarily subscribe to notion that high school freshmen actually be required to sit for an AP national exam, but one of the more accessible courses such as AP Human Geography or AP Psychology opens their eyes to the world of college, new avenues of confidence building, richer vocabulary, earlier and safe immersion with upper clansmen, and a whole host of other academic benefits.

This runs counter-intuitive, so resisters will need to be convinced. While serving in Duval County FL, I requested that 3,000 rising 9th graders be enrolled in AP Human Geography.  The initial resistance was enormous. By the second year, kids and families and teachers took hold and the inertia began.  The district continues to enroll big numbers of high school freshmen in 1 or more AP course.  I remain accused of placing students who were behind grade level in reading into AP classes.  eeeeegads!  Of course, we never did that, but resisters sometimes take creepy actions, especially if their resistance caters to adults-only interests.

Following is a chart of new data from The College Board about the increases in AP enrollment–up significantly.

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