Letter: Teachers urge support for AP Credit Equity bill

4/24/2015, 5:37 p.m.
The proposed law change would ensure that any student who scores a "3" or higher on an Advanced Placement exam ...

Dear Editor;

House Bill 3428, or the AP Credit Equity proposal, is currently being proposed by Illinois lawmakers to make all public Illinois universities and community colleges accept a 3 or higher on Advanced Placement exams to earn college credit.

AP exams are scored on a 1 to 5 scale, with a score of 3, 4 and 5 indicating “college success”. However, there are colleges and universities that do not accept a 3 on some AP exams. This inconsistent policy is extremely unfair for many of our Illinois students and makes us uncompetitive with our neighboring states that do offer college credit for 3s.

House Bill 3428 would benefit Illinois students by:

  • Increasing college-persistence and graduation for all Illinois Students by giving students a head start on earning college credit. Also, students who pass AP exams are more likely to graduate from college on time.
  • Making higher education more affordable due to the fact that they will not have to take courses that they mastered in high school.
  • Keeping the best and brightest students in Illinois. Fourteen states currently offer AP equity policies including neighboring states WI, OH, IN and MN which means that more Illinois students are choosing colleges in these states and are leaving Illinois.
  • Improving equity by allowing those minority students who do earn a 3 on the AP exam to gain college credit.

This important piece of legislation needs to be supported and passed without delay. As we are AP English Literature and AP European History teachers, we strongly believe that each student that achieves a 3 or higher has earned college credit having gone through the rigors of the course and the exam.

These courses are taught in high school at a college level and students that receive a score of 3 or higher are on par with university level competencies which has been validated by independent research in Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin.

Our students work diligently through the year and should be rewarded for their efforts. We understand that some might believe that Illinois colleges and universities might lose revenue if this is enacted, but it is very shortsighted that we might base a morally justified action on lost revenue.

On a day-to-day basis, we encourage students to strive for greatness and they consistently meet this challenge. The majority of these students will attend a four-year university, graduate, enter a profession, and contribute to society on many levels. It is imperative that we reward those young men and women that choose to take rigorous classes with the intent of challenging themselves at the highest level.

These are exactly the students who should attend an Illinois school of higher learning. They will complete a four-year degree and move on to higher educational goals. These are the citizens that will provide a solid economic base to our country, serve as role models in various capacities, and provide leadership in both industry and the government arenas.

Please consider the individual young man or woman that is dedicated to a solid education. That would be the student that is at school both before and after class striving to improve his or her chances of being accepted to their university of choice. These students are motivated by high standards and rigorous challenges.

Let’s keep these students in Illinois universities and colleges by offering them the same advanced placement credit as other states offer. If we don’t, we will lose them to a state that understands the inherent worth they offer as intelligent, motivated young men and women.

Please contact your representative in the Illinois General Assembly right away to let them know that you support this bill.

Please feel free to email us with any questions about this proposal or about the AP Program.

Janice Sheehan & Paul Oswald

AP Advocates

jsheehan@jths.org & poswald@jths.org