The phrase “college-level” gets tossed around a lot these days, in reference to the plethora of opportunities for PA students: optional AP exams, Advanced classes, College in the Schools, and now Advanced College Credit (ACC) this year.
PA prides itself on forming its own curricula, independent of the College Board’s (AP) or any other national body’s intrusion. This conscientious identity leads PA’s distinguishing characteristics in areas other than academics, from technology to ideas about religious freedom.
As a student who has studied for an AP test might agree, the experience goes like this: attempt to learn a definitive, dry list of information by rote memorization. In English, AP has decided which literary terms are most important for hundreds of thousands of test-taking American kids to learn. In these ways, and much more so in the full-length classes, those behind AP have a lot of power over the impressionable.
Complaints aside, a score rates competence on a decisive 1-5 scale, and a good score demonstrates that a student has made himself master of the AP skill set.
Yet as opportunities to earn many forms of college credit attached to another institution hit PA, is it possible that a forced curriculum will prevail anyway under the well-intentioned college heading of ACC?
It is possible. But as the question pertains to Providence Academy, I think that a school like ours knew what it was getting into by starting college classes. Also, the teachers who are responsible for classes taught in such a small school are few enough for quality to be controlled. Plus, it is difficult to imagine that PA students already expect college credit as an integral part of the curriculum like students at other schools seem to.
PA students’ heightened diligence surrounding college classes will rightly protect their higher standards, as long as the good teachers of PA continue to foster it.