Topic: Advanced placement and credit opportunities for secondary students
This seminar offered parents the opportunity to share issues and concerns about academic planning for their children at secondary level and beyond. The topics ranged from the advantages and disadvantages of the hallmark secondary options of AP and IB and dual enrollment to concerns about early admission to college and working with schools to advocate effectively for advanced work.
Regarding AP vs IB, it is important to note that each option is designed for different purposes. IB offers a comprehensive program experience at senior high levels to intellectually gifted learners, is relatively inflexible in respect to what must be taken, and mirrors a first year liberal arts curriculum at a small college in respect to content. AP, on the other hand, is comprised of 38 self-standing courses that may be taken at any time during the high school years as long as prerequisites are met and is geared to students who are academically strong in certain subjects as well as those who are intellectually gifted. It provides maximum flexibility in course delivery (online, summers at talent search universities, independent study, formal high school course). Each of these programs provides an advanced curriculum that is monitored by the sponsoring agency (ie. College Board and IBO) through syllabi and an assessment system that has been calibrated to first year college work at selective institutions of learning.
Regarding dual enrollment as an option, it is less controlled by any single agency and is administered differently in each state. Most states require state colleges and universities to accept dual enrollment credit if it is comparable coursework to what they offer. There are no controls, however, on the level of the curriculum challenge, the assessment system used to assign credit, or the location or instructor for the course. Many dual enrollment courses are taught by high school instructors at the local high school. Others are offered at nearby community colleges. Some are truly advanced offerings on 4-year campuses.
Regarding early admission to college, it may be useful to consider several criteria: --the interest in the child of entering early --the proximity of the institution of choice --the capacity to commute to the college --the age of proposed matriculation (16 and older is now somewhat standard) --the choice of college as a match to the student's ability and specific aptitudes and interests --the cost factor.
This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. To learn more about the Davidson Institute’s programs, please visit www.DavidsonGifted.org.
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