Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Advancing education

When looking for a solid testing model, one need look no further than the AP program - a test built from the curriculum up. Unlike the ACT, when a student does well on the AP exam, we know what that means. We know students have achieved something worthwhile.

This from H-L:

...In the 12 Kentucky public high schools that participated in AdvanceKY last year, the incidence of students passing national AP exams increased 76.6 percent. That compares to a 17.5 percent increase in Kentucky and 5.7 percent nationally.

Students who do well on their AP exams earn college credit and are eligible for advanced placement when they begin higher education. And people who get a college degree are generally healthier, wealthier and more productive citizens — just the prescription for a poor, sick state like Kentucky...

These early results prove there's a lot of untapped ability among Kentucky students. They also tell us that to give every willing student this opportunity will take a lot of money and effort.

The challenge, always, is to muster the political will. At the state level that means full funding and intelligent policy. Locally, it means everything from committed parents to assessing and collecting property taxes honestly to insisting that school districts aren't a dumping ground for political allies or family members. At the personal level, it means adults supporting their students' highest ambitions and students putting in the time and effort to tackle tougher material.

A maze of statistics flesh out the impressive results but here's the bottom line: In the AdvanceKY schools kids who'd never had the chance before received AP level instruction, took the national exam and earned qualifying scores.

They got into the game and they were able to compete. How can we as adults deny other Kentucky high school students a chance to play at this level?

Kentucky has made strides in education since the Kentucky Education Reform Act became law 19 years ago. AdvanceKy shows us we can do much better still.

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