AP credit here to stay

University administrators weary of following Dartmouth’s example in rejecting AP credit.

By Janey Lee

Despite Dartmouth’s recently announced decision to cease offering Advanced Placement (AP) course credit to its students, the University of Chicago remains decidedly in favor of maintaining its accreditation policies, according to Dean of Students Susan Art and Dean of the College John Boyer.

Officials at Dartmouth cited a study performed by its Committee on Instruction, which involved giving 100 students who scored a 5 on the AP Psychology test a version of its own Psychology 1 final. After 90 percent of the participants failed, the Committee concluded that AP courses were not as rigorous as those offered at Dartmouth.

UChicago will not be following suit, Boyer and Art said. According to Art, the University views AP as a suitable prerequisite for some College courses.

“AP is a shorthand for a curriculum that’s challenging and a good preparation for college,” she said.

However, Boyer said that the AP tests fail to capture the values of class discussion, peer-to-peer learning, and intensive paper writing encountered in Core classes like Hum, Sosc, and Civ, and the College stands by its policy of requiring all students to take these sequences.

“Alumni will say that by the end of first year, [they are different people] because [they] sat through Hum discussions. I would be wary of exempting people from that,” Boyer said.

Dartmouth’s decision has been widely contested, especially by students who use AP credits to graduate early for personal or financial reasons, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Boyer said that the primary motivator for UChicago students who took AP tests in high school was placement into advanced courses.

“Students don’t want credit, but they want to be placed on higher level,” he said.

According to Boyer, many graduate programs generally value four years of college scholarship and faculty support. He said that approximately 90 percent of students at the College choose to pursue advanced degrees.

“The more seasoning and preparation you have, the better,” he said.