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Value of AP credits

Story by Bailey Berg, news editor

A new trend among prestigious colleges and universities is doing away with giving college credit for Advanced Placement exams. This change has Drake University students talking about what this could mean for its campus and future education.

First-year Kelsey Pfeifer said if Drake did not allow her to transfer in the 10 credits she earned from the three AP exams she took, she would have gone to another school.

“It was a huge incentive that the work I put in would be recognized in an appropriate manner,” Pfeifer said.

First-year Alex Lueck, however, transferred in 18 AP credits, but would have still gone to Drake regardless if she could have transferred in the credits or not.

Faculty Senate President Keith Summerville said students need not worry about Drake following in the footsteps of other institutions.

“Senate has not discussed AP credit, nor am I aware of an effort to bring this issue to the attention of the Executive Committee,” Summerville said.

The movement, initiated by Dartmouth College, was brought about by the belief that the AP exams weren’t as rigorous as their own classes.

The Advanced Placement program offers 40 different tests, ranging from macroeconomics to English literature, composition to Japanese language, and culture to art history.

According to the Drake website, “Faculty advisors will determine whether acceptable AP coursework will be applied toward Drake Curriculum, major, or elective requirements.” Though a three out of five is considered passing on the AP tests, Drake requires at least a four to grant credit for the test. Thomas Delahunt, Drake’s vice president for admission and student financial planning, said that roughly a quarter of Drake students transfer in at least one AP class every year.

Despite no changes in the making here at Drake, Delahunt said he could see where Dartmouth is coming from.

“I talk to parents and students in high school about this all the time,” Delahunt said. “But what I think people need to do is take AP courses in high school for the sake of a more challenging curriculum.”

Summerville shares the same sentiments.

“In general, I don’t think AP credit should be confused as a substitute for the types of skills and experiential learning that we try to provide at Drake,” Summerville said.

Delahunt said he doesn’t believe Drake will ever get rid of the AP credits because it makes it less challenging for students to either study abroad or add a major or minor.

Lueck said she was able to add a certificate of competence in Spanish because she didn’t have to take as many Areas of Inquiry classes, therefore freeing up more space in her schedule.

It’s instances like Lueck’s where Delahunt said he sees the true merit of AP credits.

“The real advantage of AP is that it gives you more flexibility,” Delahunt said. “There is more to it than graduating early.”


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