In January, Richard Lerner asked the Board of Education for a little more information than they provided during a public presentation on Advanced Placement (AP) test scores.
Lerner asked a specific question: Why had the report lumped all scores between 3 and 5 into one group?
At Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting, held at , Lerner said he suspects that by lumping together such a wide range (tests are scored from 1-5), the district could hide falling test scores while giving the impression of solid performance. The difference between a score of 3 and a score of 5 is a big one, Lerner said; a test score of 3 usually won’t earn a student any college credit. Most colleges and universities require an AP test score of 4 or 5.
Lerner said he commends the district for attracting more students to the AP classes, but he can’t help but worry that scores are falling, in some case significantly.
He did a little research, and found that Calculus AB scores fell from an average of 3.6 in 2007 to 2.2 at , and from 2.3 to 1.7 at , he said. North Farmington scores fell from 3.1 to 2.5, Lerner added.
“Over the same period, the number of students receiving a 4 or 5 on their Calculus AB test, which would earn them college credit, has dropped from 60 percent at Farmington to 14 percent, and from 14 percent to zero at Harrison,” he said. North Farmington fell from 36 percent to 25 percent.
Lerner looks to block scheduling versus trimesters as a possible reason. Prior to 2007, high schools operated on block schedules and semesters. Since then, high school students have been on a trimester schedule.
Whatever the reason, Lerner asked the board to “bring out AP data into the light of day and make data public on the (district) website,” as well as invite public input on improving the courses, and share the information with a Block Scheduling Study Committee so committee members can determine the effectiveness, or lack of it, of trimester scheduling.
Board members did not respond to Lerner's presentation.
Calculus AB average AP score
Calculus BC average AP score
Chart courtesy Richard Lerner