THE COLLEGE CORNER

We’ve just completed an extremely busy time at AST. 

Starting with the preparations for TAIMUN, and then experiencing TAIMUN itself, our students and faculty moved directly into Advanced Placement (AP) testing.  We’ve now completed the AP exams at AST, and this gives me an opportunity to tell you why our school has worked to increase the AP offerings for your children. 

College Board says “AP courses give students access to rigorous college-level work. AP students build confidence and learn the essential time management and study skills needed for college and career success.”  I think this is a true statement.  To officially offer an AP class, the course structure, lessons and texts all need to be approved by College Board.  They also provide extensive guidance on how to evaluate the material that the students submit, so that colleges and universities can be certain that a particular grade is reflective of the student’s understanding as compared to all other students across the globe who have taken that course.  All of this is preparation for the student taking the AP exam itself, which is evaluated by employees of College Board, and scored on a 1 to 5 scale, with a 5 awarded for the highest level of achievement.  

In fact, the results of the AP exams are so reliable that many universities are willing to waive introductory classes if a student has scored a 3 or above.  In some cases, universities will even offer credit for high AP scores. 

Both of these benefit the student (and their family).  In the first case, the student has greater freedom with time and course selection, since they can avoid taking required introductory courses.  In the second case, the student receives the same benefits, but also receives actual course credits which apply directly to graduation requirements.  This means that the student with high AP exam scores can (depending upon the university, of course) graduate earlier and at lower cost than other students. 

For all these reasons, Mr. Corcoran has actively encouraged the adoption of additional AP classes at AST.   In 2009, before Mr. Corcoran joined AST, the school offered four AP courses.

AST currently offers 18 AP courses, and we plan to add more.  A full list of our AP courses can be found on our website, under Curriculum.  The public High School that I worked at in Seattle has about 1600 students; they currently offer 15 AP classes. 

For a local comparison, I looked at the websites for Ivy Collegiate Academy, and Morrison Christian Academy. 

Ivy offers four AP classes: https://ica.ivyjhs.tc.edu.tw/academics/curriculum/

Morrison offers nine: http://taichung.mca.org.tw/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/07/2017-2018-course-listing.pdf

AP classes really give students the opportunity to take college-level courses before entering a college or university. They do require greater effort from students, but they also can prove a student’s ability to thrive in an academically challenging environment: universities like that. 

The complete list of AP classes supported by College Board is here: https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/apcourse

Courtesy of Dan Norton-Middaugh

THE COLLEGE CORNER

AST剛完成了學年中極度忙碌的時期。

從TAIMUN (台灣模擬聯合國會議)的準備工作開始,隨後經歷TAIMUN模擬聯合國大會開會期間,然後,同學與教職員們再緊接著投入連續兩星期的AP各科年度考試。現在,所有今年度AP考試已完全結束了,我也終於可以稍微喘口氣,把握這次機會,跟大家聊聊為何我們學校要為您孩子增設這許多AP(大學先修) 課程。

就如College Board (美國大學理事會) 所述的 “AP課程,提供同學們管道接觸較嚴格的大學程度課業。修習AP課程的同學要建立自信、學習控管自己的時間,並學習研究技巧以備進入大學甚至職場時能獲得成功。” 我認為這正是對AP課程最真實的敘述。一般學校在設立AP課程前,須先提供所開設科目的課程架構、課程內容與文字教材等資料給College Board審核通過後才可以開課。College Board並廣泛提供各種AP課程應遵循的指示,包括如何評量學生提交的作品,以便各大專院校面對來自全球各地修相同AP科目的同學提供個人AP課程成績時,可以確實比較出不同成績所反應出該學生學習成果的意義。而同學們在參與AP課程中做好準備後,再參加由College Board舉辦的年度AP各科考試,經由College Board所聘請的員工為各科考試評分後,得到成績從1到5分不等,如獲得5分則為最高分。

事實上,因為AP考試成績已建立其公信度,許多大學可以讓同學免修AP考試成績在3分以上科目的初階課程;也有些大學甚至可以讓AP考試獲得最高分的科目折抵畢業學分。

上述兩項優惠都對同學們 (以及他們家庭) 都很有利。前項優惠,同學們可因免修一些初階課程而相對在時間運用或選修其他課程的安排上有較多自由空間。至於第二項的優惠,則除了與前項有相同的自由空間好處外,還可因學分折抵,而先達成一些畢業要求。也就是說,AP考試成績高的同學可能 (須因大學而異) 較其他同時入學的同學提早達到畢業要求,而相對的支付了較低的學費。

基於上述原因,Mr. Corcoran校長一直以來都很積極鼓勵同學們選修AP課程。2009年,Mr. Corcoran加入AST的前一年,當時我們學校共開了4科AP課程。

而目前AST則提供了18科AP課程,且我們計畫以後還要提供更多。關於學校開設的AP課程可在學校網頁上的Curriculum項目內看到所有科目明細。相較於我上一所在美國西雅圖服務的公立高中,他們全校有1600位同學,但目前他們所提供的AP課程則共有15科,這樣的教學服務比較,僅供大家參考。

若與本地其他學校比較,我也查了一下常春藤高中以及馬禮遜學校的課程。

常春藤高中共提供了4科AP課程:https://ica.ivyjhs.tc.edu.tw/academics/curriculum/

馬禮遜學校提供了9科: http://taichung.mca.org.tw/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/07/2017-2018-course-listing.pdf

AP課的確為同學們提供機會,在進入大專院校前先學習大專程度的課程;同學們也確實需要很努力來面對每科AP課程。但通過這些課程,可以證明同學們的能力已足以應付更嚴格的學業環境所給予的挑戰,這正是大學在選擇學生時,所樂見學生具有的特質。

所有College Board開放設立的AP課程可以查閱:https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/apcourse

感謝Mr. Dan Norton-Middaugh老師提供