Between 2000 and 2006, the number of students who have taken AP courses has doubled. AP course work is a requirement for many colleges; students are penalised for having mere “honours” courses. Meanwhile, the mean score on AP exams has dropped from a 3.01 to a 2.89 during the same time period, even though many students take the AP class but do not take the exam.
The College Board, in response to complaints about schools who teach every course as an AP, has begun auditing high school courses. While the ultimate goal of maintaining high standards is laudable, the methodology leaves a bit to be desired. Colleges that are concerned about the rigour of AP courses could request a breakdown from the high schools of the number of students in each class, the number who take the exam, and how well they score on it (data would be from the previous year). Schools would have little incentive to turn every sophomore year chemistry course into “AP Chemistry” when colleges see that few students are prepared for organic or physical chemistry after taking the course.