High School Reformers-Take Note

Exciting news from The College Board.  Two new Advanced Placement (AP) course are being piloted and field tested.  Advanced Placement and Cambridge International Exams are partnering to offer:

1.  AP/Cambridge Interdisciplinary Investigations and Critical Reasoning Seminar-targeting mostly HS juniors; and,

2.  AP/Cambridge Capstone Research Project-targeting mostly HS seniors.

These courses will fit nicely with 21st Century Skills and regardless whether a high school graduate pursues full-time college or part-time college (coupled with an immediate high wage job).  My concerns:

1.  Will we use the new AP courses to deepen the filters to keep kids our of AP?

2.  Will we take full advantage of strands, skills and themes around interdisciplinary, critical reasoning, and rigorous research or allow these new courses to window dress these areas of academic deficit in American high school offerings?

3.  Will we give teachers full professional development and supports to help them make the most of these new courses?

I remember when The Duval County School Board and I were pushing new and more rigorous and revenant high school graduation requirements.  We envisioned a capstone research project for all kids.  We got blowback from a community where many believed that all kids need not be prepare to go to college.  Our best attitude shifter was, “Would you like to work along side us and help decide who will get prepared to go to college and who will not.”  That usually got attitudes to shift.

Going to college (or not) should be each child’s choice, based on our preparation of them to have a real choice.

I suppose for readers of this blog, I am preaching to choir?!

JW

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