Rice Reconsiders Policy on Advanced Placement (AP) Credits

AP-LogoRice University’s Faculty Senate is reconsidering what type of credit, if any, to give to matriculating students who have scored highly on Advanced Placement Tests. In particular, the faculty is concerned that students entering Rice with more than 20 credit hours (or essentially 2 semesters) are spending significantly less time at Rice because they place out of core curriculum requirements.

Called “distributions,” these core classes form the basis of Rice’s liberal arts education in that the classes force students to study a broad range of classes that are not necessarily for their major (i.e. an engineering student must still take English classes). Additionally, some faculty are concerned that the AP credits allow students from more affluent¬†backgrounds an unfair advantage since poor, rural, and generally uncompetitive¬†schools do not offer the standardized curriculum as defined by the non-profit College Board.

The university is evaluating a large dataset before it makes any recommendations, most of it favoring the AP curriculum. In particular, faculty found a direct correlation between the amount of AP credits a student earned and GPA, meaning that students scoring well on many AP exams might be better prepared to handle Rice’s rigorous curriculum.

“There happens to be a very high correlation between not very many AP courses and decently crummy high schools,” Wolf, a Rice professor of mathematics said.

Whatever the faculty decide, Rice University President David Leebron reaffirmed that the competitive application process will continue to not penalize students whose schools do not offer AP courses: “We judge applicants by the level of courses they take relative to what is offered at their school,” Leebron said to the Rice’s campus newspaper, the Thresher.

Read the full story at the Rice Thresher:



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