What is the value of an Advanced Placement course in today’s education system? I, and many other educators, students, and parents are asking this question. For over 20 years, I have taught English – including AP courses at Falmouth High School. I no longer believe the mantra that the College Board is offering prestigious programs that are worth our educational resources.

Since the pandemic, when the College Board realized they needed to quickly pivot, they have created hybrid virtual and in-person exams, claiming that these exams are valuable. In order to get the most blood out of the proverbial stone, our students must register for the AP course in November (long before they have a firm understanding of the class principles). Once registered, they are automatically signed up for the May exam, which costs $96. If students later choose not to take the exam, they are still charged a $40 fee.

Having graded for the College Board for the last three years (one year in person, two years remotely), I can unequivocally say that grading hundreds of essays for over 40 hours from home, with minimal attempts to monitor for grader reliability – the score our students receive for their AP exams is … well, questionable at best.

Falmouth High School staff have the capability to teach college-level courses. Let’s throw off the yoke of the College Board as the signifier of a top-notch school and unburden ourselves from these false idols.

Julie Blodgett
Falmouth High School English department
Bath resident

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