Jay Mathews should be happy with this report. It shows that the number of students taking AP tests is way up, almost 25% in the past four years.
Just ignore the fact that the “the proportion of tests receiving what is deemed a passing score has dipped, and the mean score is down for the fourth year in a row”.
While the College Board sees the increasing number of test-takers as a positive phenomenon, she added, “we feel very strongly that students should not be placed into AP classes without better preparation.”
Referring to scores on AP exams, Trevor Packer, the College Board vice president who oversees the AP program, said: “We’re seeing more 2’s than ever before. We’re seeing more 1’s than ever before.”
Asked whether at some point the College Board would determine that broadened access to the program wasn’t worth the deteriorating scores, Mr. Packer said, “If I were to see two years of statistically significant declines [in any given subject], I’d start to get nervous.”
In any case, there’s no reason to be nervous. Test takers are increasing.
And, after all, the only criteria for judging the quality of a high school is in the taking of the tests, not the passing of them.