Advanced Placement exams, which many high school students use to gain course credits when they attend college, will no longer be accepted for credit at Dartmouth College, the Associated Press reports.
Run by the College Board, the Advanced Placement program includes more than 30 courses in languages, history, calculus, and science. Dartmouth says that beginning with the class of 2018, AP exams will be used to place students in the proper classes, not to replace college credit.
Kate Lyon, who graduated from the school in 2005, tells the Associated Press that the decision "seems to show very little regard for the fact that students struggle to pay for college," noting that her family saved about $15,000 because of her AP credits.
The AP system came under fire recently, when Rob Jenkins asked in a column for The Chronicle of Higher Education, "Can we please dispense with the fiction that Advanced Placement courses in any way resemble college courses?"
And former teacher John Tierney called the AP program a "scam" in The Atlantic and during a recent interview with NPR's Talk of the Nation. He also called the system a "sacred cow" that doesn't face enough scrutiny.
Tierney's comments brought a defense of the advanced placement system from Trevor Packer, senior vice president for the College Board's AP program, who said that while it "is not a silver bullet," the program helps high school students who are "ready and waiting for the sort of rigor that would prepare them for what they would encounter in college."
College Board spokeswoman Deborah Davis tells the Associated Press that its research shows that many students at small, elite colleges use AP examinations to help them get placed into the right classes, not to graduate early.
"But with the average time to complete a bachelor's degree increasing to six years at most colleges," the Associated Press reports, "she anticipates that AP exam scores will increasingly be used to provide credits."