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The AP Story Isn’t Over
Several scandals ago the College was in the news as being the first Ivy to wholesale refuse to grant advanced credit for AP tests. The faculty voted on this question on the assumption that the College was just following established practice at other Ancient Eight schools, after Professor Håkan Tell, the chair of the Committee on Instruction, made the following statements at a faculty meeting:
“We are not out of step with other institutions with a deep commitment to undergraduate education in doing this. For example, Brown, Amherst, Williams, Harvard, Princeton and UPenn do not allow AP credits. Cornell and Yale do, but in reality, I’ve been told, it’s very difficult to get credit for those students.”
“As I mentioned before, we have data, new data, of what the Ivies are doing, and some of the other colleges with a real commitment to undergraduate education. I’ve referred to them. So Brown, for example, University, and Williams and Amherst, Harvard, UPenn and Princeton, do not allow AP credits. Cornell and Yale do, but it’s very difficult to get credit from them. In terms of following our peers, this is something that we have been talking about for the better part of a decade now. We’ve been trying to bring this to the floor of the faculty for a little bit more than ten years.”
However, it turned out that Professor Tell either was misinformed or had not done his homework. In fact, all of the other Ivies give credit for some AP courses, as this space noted after researching Ivy websites and making a few calls, and as the Valley News reported in quoting a senior official from the College Board.
Needless to say, the fiasco was a national story, but embarrassment (the decision was slammed in the Washington Post) was certainly not the only ramification for Dartmouth. Sources tell me that Admissions regularly receives skeptical questions about the new AP policy from potential applicants to the College. In fact, the Admissions staff agrees that applicants do not seem half as interested in our campus life issues as they are in the fact that we don’t give credit for any AP work. They also perceive that this new policy is hurting us especially among many of the best prepared applicants.
That concern is understandable. The College is already the second-most-expensive Ivy, and if students can save Mom and Dad a term of tuition/room and board/fees at another Top 20 school that will give them credits for their serious high school work, why not go elsewhere? When you add that fact to our worst-in-show financial aid policies, choosing to come to Dartmouth becomes less and less likely for top students.
To be fair, refusing to recognize AP credits is not a bad educational idea in the abstract. Amherst and Williams have long done so. However the decision, which was undoubtedly heavily influenced by the Kim administration’s desire take in more money, is having serious real world repercussions. We need to change back to our previous policy. The present rules are costing us some of the very best students.
Addendum: Save money, save money seems to be the administration’s mantra — but Parkhurst doesn’t believe the imprecation enough to cut the bloated staff. Dartmouth is an institution that insists on cutting bone, when there is fat galore to be had.
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
August 23, 2009
Fare Thee Well, Tom Crady
And now Dean Tom Crady has precipitously announced his departure from the College after only 20 months on the job. How to read this? By way of background, prior to coming to Dartmouth, Crady had…
May 31, 2009
Kangaroo Court, Indeed
In an interview with The Dartmouth, alumni-elected trustee T.J. Rodgers ‘70 explained his reasons for declining to participate in future evaluations of trustees up for “re-election,” namely the “kangaroo court” nature of such discussion in…