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Admissions 101: Could AP Replace the SAT?


Earlier this month in Admissions 101, Jay Mathews discussed a new policy at Bryn Mawr College which will allow students to submit a combination of AP scores in diverse subjects instead of SAT II scores. Jay wanted to know what readers thought of AP tests as alternatives to the SAT and about the possibility of an SAT-free future.

mhwebster is concerned that an AP-only system would constitute an unfair advantage to wealthy students who can afford to go to schools with better AP programs:

"Wouldn't that favor the wealthy even more than the current system? Do most schools even have AP classes? Is there a statistical connection between the wealth of the school district and the quantity of AP classes offered? Sure, it might be a good idea if all else is equal, but I doubt that's the case."

lisamc31 comes down on the SAT's side, saying that the AP caters only to advanced students, while the SAT is designed for everyone:

"Let's face it, not EVERY student is academically qualified to take AP and succeed at AP in high school! Contrary to Jay's opinion, this is not a crime. There are plenty of students with average to above average intelligence, who scored in the 1050-1200 range (old SATs) who never took an AP course in their lives and went on to be admitted to decent universities to earn their BFAs or BSs or BAs quite successfully.
High school is supposed to provide a broad, general educational foundation. There's nothing wrong with students doing well in Honors classes, mastering high school curriculum while in high school, and tackling college-level material when in college.
AP is not for everyone. The SAT is a fair tool for reasonably accurately assessing a student's overall general intellect. I don't care how much money a parent spends on SAT prep, a student who could only muster a 1050 on the SAT without prep is never going to pull a 1450. (again, I'm using the old numbers, much easier for this dinosaur)
To insist that everyone take AP is to demand higher failure rates. This is totally counter-productive and counter-intuitive to what good education should be."

Join the discussion in Admissions 101 or in the comments below.

By Sarah Mimms  | June 16, 2009; 2:14 PM ET
Categories:  Admissions 101  | Tags:  AP, AP Advanced Placement International Baccalaureate IB, SAT, high school testing  
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