Fraudulent schemes come in all shapes and sizes. To work, they typically wear a patina of respectability. That’s the case with Advanced Placement courses, one of the great frauds currently perpetrated on American high-school students.This Tierney goes on to make a number of arguments against Advanced Placement courses and tests, some plausible, some less so. He doesn’t have a lot of data one way or another, unfortunately.
I looked into the statistics on AP testing results back in 2009 for a VDARE article and concluded that diminishing marginal returns due to expansion of the number of students taking the tests hadn’t yet become a severe problem. At that point, Blue State students were getting more benefit from AP, but not enough Red State students appeared to have discovered this way to earn expensive college credits as a high school student.
On the other hand, I’m more of a fan of AP tests than AP courses. For example, one of my sons took a US history course that followed the AP curriculum and the class was just a forced march through memorizing a lot of facts with no time for class discussions. After the test had been taken in early May, the class experience got a lot better.
My other son went to a very good high school that doesn’t offer AP-branded courses — on the grounds that their talented teachers are better at making up their own curriculums — while encouraging students to take the AP tests. This seems to have been the best of both worlds, although it was dependent on hiring very good teachers, having very good students, and having small class sizes with lots of discussion.