"It's at least 30% more [work] than another class," said James Keipp, the director UCLA's AP Readiness Program, which offers free support classes to LAUSD students. But when it comes to educational opportunity and equity, if your child's school offers far fewer AP classes than other schools, your school may be offering a lower-quality education overall. In Los Angeles Unified, any student can take an AP class if she chooses to, according to district policy. Now the College Board and school districts are recognizing that, and districts around the country are flipping access so that any student can choose to take an AP class -- that's the policy in both Los Angeles and Long Beach unified school districts.
Marcy Zaldana, a college counselor at Washington Preparatory High School, had big news for her 11th-graders during a Zoom meeting last week: The University of California had just dropped SAT and ACT testing requirements for admission. The students erupted in cheers, she said. The South L.A. high school educates mostly low-income, black and Latino students who would be the first in their families to attend college -- the youths who, research shows, face bias in standardized tests, potentially hurting their college admission chances. But their elation evaporated with Zaldana's next words: Take the test anyway. "I told them you should consider taking the SAT if you want to have more options," the college counselor said.
This week, educators and students expressed their opposition to the College Board's decision to cut out parts of the Advanced Placement World History curriculum. The College Board announced in May that it was removing early world history from the nationally taught high school course. Starting in 2019, the AP World History exam will only assess content from 1450 to the present. Schools will have the option to offer a Pre-AP World History course that covers 600 BCE to 1450 instead, but it will not count for college credit like other AP courses. The flood of support for teaching early world history started after outraged teachers vocalized their concerns at an during an open forum with College Board members in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The sticker price of college is increasing, but for low-income students, financial aid programs can make some of the most competitive schools the most affordable. Studies have found as many as 40 percent of incoming students do not attend the most competitive school they could get into, and that this "undermatching" phenomenon is driven by students' application choices rather than schools' admissions decisions. A new working paper suggests that removing those barriers with a promise of financial aid can significantly increase the number of low-income students who apply to and enroll in a selective college. Researchers at the University of Michigan designed an experiment to see how a relatively low-cost intervention could affect where high-school seniors went to college. The school sent personalized mailers to high-achieving, low-income students, their parents, and their principals, telling them that if the students got into UM they'd get full tuition because they qualified for a High Achieving Involved Leader Scholarship.
Administrators of the SAT college admissions exam on Friday detailed plans to provide test scores in the context of a student's high school hardships as a way to help colleges identify resourceful students they might otherwise overlook. The College Board said the "Environmental Context Dashboard" being piloted at 50 colleges uses a combination of data points and sources to assign a disadvantage level to be considered along with the test's academic results. Neighborhood factors like median family income, crime rate and education level of residents are factored in, along with high school traits like geography, the size of the senior class, the percentage of households with food stamps and the advanced course offerings. The dashboard also shows a student's SAT score in relation to classmates. It does not consider race.