Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

School May Rethink AP Course Enrollment Policy

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

School May Rethink AP Course Enrollment Policy

Article excerpt

FORT LEE -- The school board may revisit a policy allowing any student to sign up for Advanced Placement classes, following a recent ranking report showing the high school had plummeted 25 spots in the two years since the practice was adopted.

Before the 2010-11 school year, students had to meet certain criteria before enrolling in the college-level courses. The board removed the requirements, however, following pressure from parents who felt their kids were being denied an equal education.

But a recent report in New Jersey Monthly -- in which Fort Lee High School dropped from its rank of No. 72 two years ago to No. 97 - - might be an opportunity for district leaders to revisit the open- enrollment issue, Assistant Superintendent Sharon Amato said.

New Jersey Monthly ranked 328 public high schools based on data from the state Education Department's School Report Card for the 2010-11 year. It evaluated campuses based on average class size, student-faculty ratio, number of AP tests offered and the number of students scoring 3 or higher on the exams, and SAT and other standardized test scores. Scoring for AP courses is on a 1-5 scale.

A large contributing factor for Fort Lee's drop was likely due to the switch to open enrollment for AP courses, Amato said.

"Do we want to have lower test scores ... but give kids more opportunity?" she said Tuesday. "I think this is a worthwhile conversation."

Parent Howard Pearl said at the previous night's board meeting that he supports having a teacher or counselor recommend students who have demonstrated readiness or potential to excel in advanced course work.

But board Vice President Linda McCue had other ideas.

"Are we more interested in a ranking or are we more interested in educating our kids?" she asked.

"Did 100 more kids learn something new last year?" she asked, referring to open enrollment. …

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