A few weeks back I mentioned that the College Board is asking all Advanced Placement teachers to submit curricular materials for authorization. This authorization will allow the school in question to continue to describe their classes as AP. I do understand the College Board’s concern that classes described as AP meet some minimal standards, but they have gone much too far in issuing a blanket call for all teachers to submit materials. It would have been just as easy to ask for compliance from schools with questionable scores over a period of time.
Last week I took the time to figure out what needed to be sent in, but after an hour of going through the guidelines I decided to call College Board and take my frustrations out on one of their employees. After waiting about 20 minutes I finally got a live one on the other end and proceeded to ask for a justification behind this move. The woman was responsive to my questions, but she could not answer why the requests for materials was not confined to select groups. And the reason she couldn’t answer had to do with the fact that she is not an employee of College Board. It turns out they’ve hired out the entire program to another agency. I guess it’s not a big deal, but I thought I was interrogating a College Board employee.
The woman did mention that the June 1 deadline would not be strictly enforced, but I made it crystal clear that I would not take one second out of my summer break to work on this. Following the phone call I spent roughly 30 minutes putting together materials that I thought they would find interesting and uploaded it to their site. I wasn’t clear on exactly what materials were needed because I failed to take sufficient time to read through the exact requirements. I expected to have my application rejected. Keep in mind that this was last week. Yesterday I received an email authorizing my AP class:
The College Board is pleased to announce that your United States History course is authorized to use the "AP®" designation for the 2007-08 academic year. The College Board applauds and recognizes your efforts to provide your students with the academic rigor and college-level experience that is the promise of AP. I thank you for the time and effort you put into participating in the AP Course Audit.
Apparently, my application was sent out for a thorough review that somehow managed to be completed in less than a week. Perhaps certain schools were pushed through with few questions asked. Of course, I can’t tell if my situation is an exception to the rule for qualified teachers, but it looks like this whole thing is more bark than bite. On the other hand I heard today from my math colleagues that the process is indeed more rigorous.