College & Workforce Readiness

AP: Guard the Gates? Pay To Lure Students Through Them?

By Catherine Gewertz — August 06, 2009 1 min read

You have probably heard that some districts have been experimenting with cash as an achievement incentive. A program in New York City is laying out some hefty change to get its students to pass AP tests.

Obvious questions arise about the wisdom and effectiveness of rewarding students this way for wading into AP. It’s just another intriguing facet of the debate about AP gatekeeping. It’s been cycling over and over so much that it needs its own theme song. (any suggestions?)

It used to be commonplace for schools to admit to AP classes only the students they perceived as most able. But those gates have been seriously battered by the push in recent years to welcome all interested students to the challenge of AP courses.

A recent column by The Washington Post‘s Jay Mathews, who helped bring AP gatekeeping to national attention, reminds us the practice is alive and well.

What is the AP philosophy in your district or school? What have you found to be the results?

A version of this news article first appeared in the High School Connections blog.