AP Incentive Programs?

Discussion in 'High School' started by jwroy, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. jwroy

    jwroy New Member

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    Dec 4, 2010

    At my high school we are considering an incentive program
    to help try and raise AP scores...the concept is that if a
    student receives a 3 on their AP test there grade would be
    raised to a B (if it wasn't that or higher already), if the
    student receives a 4/5 their grade would be raised to an A
    (again, if it wasn't already there). The policy would not
    ever lower a grade due to an AP score, so it can only help
    kids not hurt them. It is thought that this would help
    motivate kids to study and prepare a little harder come
    test time...safeguards can be put in place to ensure that
    students don't blow off the years assignments and
    assessments and simply rely on trying to pass the test.
    (must complete 90% of assignments for policy to apply etc)

    Does anyone know of a policy similar to this and how it has
    worked? Or any creatvie incentive program other than weighted grades/paying for test?
    Any thoughts on whether this would be a good motivator for
    kids?
    Thanks for any feedback.
     
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  3. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Dec 4, 2010

    Have you first truly analyzed why your students aren't scoring well on AP exams? How are your AP scores school wide? Has anyone spent time in the AP classes evaluating the AP teachers? If you AP scores aren't where they should be, I would suggest you start with your teachers first. Have your teachers received any AP training? attended any summer institutes? really applied the rigor in their class rooms to truly prepare students to take the AP exam?

    My students are motivated to do well on their AP exams because they just spent an entire school year in a very rigous, highly challenging class and the pay-off is passing the exam. I start all my AP classes at the beginning of the year with the goal of all my students passing, we talk about the exam almost daily, we practice, practice, practice and for the most part my students are successful.

    One other thing to check, what is the grade spead in your AP classes? STudents making A's in AP classes SHOULD be passing the AP exams. If this is not the case, one more reason to evaluate the rigor of your AP courses.
     
  4. jwroy

    jwroy New Member

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    Dec 4, 2010

    We do all of those things that you mentioned (Evaluation, raising expectations, attending conferences etc). I am beginning to look at the school wide test scores/passing rate but this is my only 2nd year at the school and I am not sure if they have been evaluated before.
    I was just trying to think of an extra little carrot to help motivate the kids when it comes down to the final couple weeks, and was trying to get some feedback from the educational community on the idea of an incentive for passing the test other than the college credit, weighted grade.
     
  5. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Dec 4, 2010

    Is this incentive program coming from the AP teachers or from your admin? I know our new "grading system" from the state is based on the percentage of students who pass AP exams and it really shook up our AP teachers this pass summer. Many AP teachers had their AP classes reassigned to AP teachers with better passage rates with really caused quite a stir in our building. As a result, we have fewer teachers teaching AP with a bigger AP class load.

    As far as incentives, I don't know about this one. I know our guidance dept would HATE it - having to go back into transcipts during the summer to change grades would affect GPA, class ranking and require them to do more work. Also, how would it affect graduating seniors? Most would already have their transcripts sent to their college or university so would it really help them out at all? I would be interested to see the results if you do implement this program. Keep us posted
     
  6. jwroy

    jwroy New Member

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    Dec 4, 2010

    Its coming from the teachers, some of the AP teachers anyway. Hist/Eng/Govt are in favor of it, Science and Math are not. They think that the kids should only be judged on what they do in the classroom and not on a test that they don't make. They are also worried that kids will blow off thier work thinking that they will be able to pass the test and get a grade, but I don't think that if a kid is in a AP class they are looking for a shortcut.
    It wouldn't apply to seniors as our grading system locks down on June 30th so we couldn't change their grades anyways. So just juniors/soph, I also don't think that this policy would affect that many kids to begin with cause it is unlikely that a student that earns a C is gonna walk in and get a 5 on the test, they probably have an A to begin with.
     
  7. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

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    Dec 4, 2010

    For that reason, I don't think the incentive policy would be effective. I think the students who are earning higher grades anyway would be the ones to do well on the exam.
     
  8. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    And these would be the two reasons my admin would not be in favor of this type of incentive program - if the incentive would only to SOME students, then I know my admin would never approve it. Also, your last statement is probably the most important - students that don't do well in class will most likely not be able to pass the test anyway.
     
  9. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I agree! The incentive of an AP class is the ability to get college credit. If the students are not doing well on the test, you really do need to evaluate your program. AP programs are designed to teach students the skills and information that they need to pass these tests.
     
  10. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    But this is the point of AP classes, to earn college credit and to do that they must pass the AP test. Pardon my rudeness, but your Math and Science AP teachers don't make any sense at all :dizzy: Why are they teaching AP? Of course their students are going to be judged by a test they don't write - it's AP!

    :thumb: couldn't agree more mopar :thumb:
     
  11. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Dec 4, 2010

    The incentive is that if they receive a 4 or 5, they will get some type of credit in college, which will make this much easier for them.

    In terms of course grades, we have weighted averages and AP courses are weighted higher than honors and CP. Honors receives .5 added, and AP full point. So a 3.5 in an AP course is really a 4.5.

    In my classes I scale many assignments. So on a 15 question reading quiz, I'll only take 5 points off for each missed question. On essays a 7 might be an A at the beginning of the year and a B+/A- at the end.
     
  12. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Dec 5, 2010

    In some students' eyes, they may overestimate their ability to pass the test and figure they can get a good grade and get an automatic B without homework completion and assignments. then, they will do worse because they did not do the preparation work. I would at least add that the grade will only be raised if a certain participation grade is also met.

    In general, maybe focus on improving the preparation rather than student motivation. An AP program should only admit students willing to give a whole-hearted attempt to pass in the first place.

    Maybe the AP program is too lenient with who they allow in the class?
    Maybe the previous grade level math programs fall short in some element of preparation? Maybe the AP program does?
     
  13. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    Dec 7, 2010

    Perhaps you could develop an incentive of some sort of school privilege for earning A's every quarter in an AP class?

    For example, my school is running the Renaissance program where students can earn a variety of privileges for having a good quarterly gpa. Students earn the privilege of leaving campus for lunch, prizes, and even discounts at local restaurants.

    If the student is earning an A in the class then they should be better prepared to do well on the exam.
     
  14. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Dec 19, 2010

    I think it is a great idea in theory. If a student gets a 5 on an AP exam they deserve an A in the class. Obviously they have mastered the material.

    But the logistics of it make it impossible. You can't go back and change those grades. We have a huge number of AP students at my school. It would be a nightmare.
     
  15. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Dec 20, 2010


    Same here - but I would be really interested in the percentage of students that earn 5's on the exams that don't get A's in the class. I know my 5's have all been A students. I don't think I have have many students with B's do better than 3's. I really think, at least in my AP classes, my grades do follow my scores.
     
  16. TechnoMage

    TechnoMage Companion

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    Mar 13, 2011

    I'll take the Hit

    An AP Chemistry class in HS is a JOKE.
    There is SELDOM any way for a HS Chemistry teacher to duplicate the College Lab experiences in a HS Lab. Colleges spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, just on lab equipment/facility. You can't duplicate THAT in most HSs if you are truthful about it. And what about the 4-6 hour labs?? Some one is at best fooling themselves and at worst outright lying if they say the experience is equivalent.
    AP History? I can see it! AP Calculus? OK, I can see that too.
    AP Sciences??? Justify it with facts or forget it.
    My 2 cents.:2cents:
    TechnoMage:dizzy:
     
  17. Pacificpastime

    Pacificpastime Companion

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    Mar 16, 2011

    The problem with the incentive is the kids who would take advantage are probably already receiving high grades. It does not give incentive to the student who already does not particularly care. How are students chosen for AP? Do they have to be recommended or can they simply want to take the course and they are in?
     
  18. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    The college board requires that ALL students be admitted into AP classes. I don't think the college board even wants schools to require pre-req's either. At my school, any student can take an AP course. The state of Indiana recently changed the reqirements for an Academic diploma requiring students to take two AP courses to recieve this diploma.
     
  19. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Mar 17, 2011

    I'm not sure this is accurate, INTeacher. As I understand it, AP *encourages* states and districts to open AP courses to anyone. Some states pay for any student to take any AP if they wish (SC used to do so, for example).

    [Of course, AP benefits from every student who takes the exam, so...]

    But individual schools determine who can take what and when. There's a great deal of variation regarding how you are selected for AP.
     
  20. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Mar 18, 2011

    You are right KParr - I was posting out of my frustration that my school and state takes the word *encourage* as no restrictions. Right now I have 75 students signed up for APUSH next year with about 8 students that are currently failing Eng 10??!! :dizzy:
     

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