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Advanced Placement FAQ

What is Advanced Placement?

  • It is a curriculum developed by The College Board to be taught in high schools at a college level.

Who teaches AP classes?

  • Teachers who have been trained through College Board seminars and/or who have had success in the past.

How do AP courses differ in content from regular advanced Central courses with options for others?

  • The teacher instructs on the highest level and follows the curriculum as designed by The College Board.

What courses are offered?

  • The College Board offers 35 different AP courses – Central offers 25 of these courses with options for others.

How does my student get into an AP course?

  • Each department has its own selection process in the winter of the preceding year.  The process may include some combination of excellence in previous courses, teacher recommendation(s), and an examination.

Once selected, is placement a sure thing?

  • No. It may change positively or negatively in the fall based upon student performance and class availability.

Once my student is in the course and it proves too difficult, may he/she come out?

  • Yes, but only with written request of the parent, approval of the teacher, the department head/chair and the president of the school.  Movement can not occur after the close of the first marking period.  We also insist that the student stay long enough in the course to get a true picture and not leave at the first sign of it being “too hard.”

I’ve heard that poor grades in one curricular area prevent a student from being accepted into an AP class in another.  Is that true?

  • Yes but requirements may vary, given the department.  Some departments are very concerned about the additional expectations of an AP class so they expect grades of strong “B” or better in all classes.

How does AP impact on rank in class?

  • All regular Central classes are given a weighting factor of 1.1.  Honors classes are given a weight of 1.15, while AP classes are given a weight of 1.2.

Does my student have to pay for the exam?

  • As per School District policy, the student must now take the exam since the district will be paying for the cost.  If the student is enrolled in the course and does not take the exam, the parent must pay for the cost of the exam.  In order to validate our teaching and analyze the effectiveness of the curriculum we must have the input of the exam scores.  We will put your student into the highest level of a course that his/her ability merits, but if the exam isn’t taken, we will not give AP weight for rank purposes.  Additionally, since the School District is paying for the cost of the exam, it is appropriate that the student perform with integrity.

What is the difference between AP & IB courses?

  • AP courses are created by the College Board, whose mission is to “connect students to college success and opportunity”. The “AP score” for a subject is determined by one exam taken at the end of the course.  Students take AP courses “a la carte” in whatever areas are most interesting to them. IB courses are created by the International Baccalaureate Organization, whose mission is to “develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who create a better and more peaceful world”.  The “IB score” for a subject is based on multiple tests and at least one project. Although students may take IB courses “a la carte”, they may also enroll in the IB Diploma Program, in which they take all their courses at the IB level. To learn more about the IB Diploma program, please see the IB web page.  Both courses offer rigorous academic work, a 1.2 weight, and the ability to earn college credit.

Will AP and IB receive the same weight?

  • Yes. AP and IB courses both receive a 1.2 weight.

Can a student do both?

  • In some instances.  If your student is currently in 10th grade and may be interested in IB, please contact Mrs. Snyder, arhockfield@philasd.org our IB Diploma Coordinator.

Will AP be listed on the transcript if the exam isn’t taken?

  • Yes but it will not be given AP weight for ranking purposes.

Then, why don’t you wait for the exam results to come in and award credit based on the exam grade?

  • The exam grades don’t arrive until July and we have never required a certain level of performance to be met in order for credit to be obtained.

How do colleges deal with AP for college admission?

  • One of the most helpful items for college admission for a given student is successful achievement in high level courses.

How do colleges award credit for AP?

  • It varies.  Some colleges award credit with grades of 3-5 on the exam.  Some colleges advance the student to the next level of a subject.  Some colleges don’t award any credit.  Check with the counselor to obtain specific information about specific colleges.

When are the exams?

  • May 3rd to May 14th.

How much does it cost?

  • Nothing; the School District is absorbing the cost.

How many exams can a student take?

  • You must take the exam for every AP class you take.  AP Classes carry a larger work load than regular classes so the decision to apply for multiple classes should be thought out.  That is an individual family decision with many factors needing to be considered.

Can calculators be used?

  • Yes, however in certain portions they are not allowed.  This is crucial.  At no time may information be stored on a calculator.  Cell phones are not permissible under any circumstances.

How long are the tests?

  • Each exam varies. Most are 3 to 3 1/2 hrs. long.

Are there alternative test arrangements which can be made if my student has a personal conflict?

  • No!  We can’t offer any alternative arrangements.  Students must take the exam at the national date/time it is offered.

If my student doesn’t take the exam, is there financial liability?

  • Yes, you will be liable for the cost to the School District.

I have a special needs youngster. Will he/she receive special consideration during testing?

  • Yes, whatever considerations are listed on the IEP will be extended to AP testing, but they must be on the IEP.  ETS and the College Board will give the special needs student that accommodation during testing.

Can my student take off from school during the two weeks of AP testing?

  • No.  We only excuse the student on the day(s) of a particular exam.  We require that teachers not give any other tests to those students during this exam period.

Will my student still have to take a final or other standardized tests in the AP subject?

  • Yes.  AP teachers are given flexibility as to content/quantity of a final but any standardized testing must occur.

Will my student have to come to school on Saturdays for AP classes?

  • Some teachers have voluntarily created extra sessions/help for AP students after school or on weekends.  Attendance, although desirable, is not mandatory.

Is there anything else I need to know?

  • We do not know, ask please. In addition your child will receive a bulletin/handbook that gives further information and description to AP testing. We plan to use LaSalle University as our testing site.

 

 

Last modified: October 29, 2017