I've always thought the AP Art History was more valid. At least it is an
accepted credit. It is my understanding that the Studio Portfolio
requirements were changed because the College Board surveyed the art schools
and wanted to examine why the art schools did not accept the Studio credit.
The art schools have not accepted the AP as a Foundation year credit, nor do
I think they ever should, even with the changes. More and more of them are
accepting it for higher placement or an elective credit. But I tell my
students I would never have wanted to give up any of my studio electives in
art school, especially for a high school level of work. One blossoms so much
in a foundation program why go back instead of forward why miss the lessons
of the kinds of people that teach in an art school. (Philip Pearlstein and
Audrey Flack taught at my school)
I have problems with the whole AP thing- all courses. If you have been
following any of the recent discussions, good colleges are starting to
insist on "5's" because they see lots of fallacies in the high school
courses. I went to a good art school and I know that I could never achieve
in 45 minute class periods, what I got in 3-6 hour studio classes in my
foundation year. I have used it mostly as art school portfolio prep,
instead of the AP exam prep. I have an Advanced class that is required
before the AP class and between the two years we are able to put together
portfolios that meet college demands.
I think the whole AP program, across the board, has become a facade and
prestige notion for districts and parents. The districts like to brag about
what they offer and the parents want to think that they are going to save a
buck. In the middle are kids being pressured to take more and more of these
classes and being severely stressed by the demands. And the weighted grade.
In our district an AP "A" equals 4.8 as opposed to an honors "A" equaling
4.5 and a non-weighted class at 4.0. We are in the process of changing this
"numbers game" which deters kids from taking non-weighted electives because
it actually hurts their GPA.
There is no such thing as "gifted and talented " in art. And, at least here,
anybody can take an AP class if the parent insists. We go through the notion
of reviewing and recommending students for AP classes, but if mommy
insists... We currently have a mother of Downs Syndrome child insisting on
having the girl in AP Biology. I currently have a student who wants to take
Advanced and AP at the same time next year. He's not had anything higher
than a "D" in the Fine art sequence but, mom wants him there.
I'm very interested in the International Baccalaureate program. It' seems
to me a much more valid approach to teaching well rounded thinking. (I view
most of the AP courses as teaching to the test). I believe Vivian, on this
list participates in IB. Problem is it looks like a very difficult
undertaking for a large public school system and $$$$.