New York Times reports on education studies: AP teachers worried about rapid growth; NCLB not closing gaps

Thursday, April 30th, 2009 at 9:46 am by

In recent days the New York Times has reported on a couple education research studies.

A survey of 1,000 Advanced Placement teachers by the Fordham Institute found that “more than half are concerned that the program’s effectiveness is being threatened as districts loosen restrictions on who can take such rigorous courses…”

The article notes that participation in AP grew by 45 percent between 2004 and 2008.The study found that the teachers were generally satisfied with the program’s quality. But, writes the Times,”More than half, 56 percent, said they believed that ‘too many students overestimate their abilities and are in over their heads.'”

Growth in AP participation has been slower in New York State; our state had a head start and has long been a leader in participation.  Also, we rank second among the states, slightly behind Maryland, in percentage of students earning a “3” or higher on AP exams.

Conducting its own research, the Times concludes that the federal No Child Left Behind Act has not succeeded in closing achievement gaps between white children and children of color.  It notes that since 2004, results on National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests have improved for black and Hispanic children have improved, but so have results for white students, leaving gaps “stubbornly wide.”

The Times observes, “Although Black and Hispanic elementary, middle and high school students all scored much higher on the federal test than they did three decades ago, most of those gains were not made in recent years, but during the desegregation efforts of the 1970s and 1980s. That was well before the 2001 passage of the No Child law…”

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