Today's New York Times offers a compelling discussion over the rise in parent requests for their children to enroll in as many Advanced Placement courses as possible in order to enhance their high school transcripts. "Earning college credit, standing out from the crowd, gaining skills, broadening intellectual horizons... " are qualities pimped by the College Board for AP course takers. MUS is one of the schools where the pressure from parents for their boys to enroll in these classes is high, and for good reason. 90% score a 3 or above, and 3 is generally accepted by colleges for credit, but clearly not in all cases.
In 2007, MUS senior AP results: 31% scored 5, 34% 4, 24% 3. 11% scored under a 3. No college gives credit for anything lower than a three, and MUS will move a student out at semester if AP requirements look to be inconsistent with student performance. As students apply for AP, MUS generally has them enrolled already in the appropriate academic pipeline so that there are few surprises. Again, look at the 2007 stats. Overwhelmingly, the system works out. That said, MUS verifies the rationality of each student's AP course selection and invites students either to challenge themselves or counsels out students where necessary. It's a balancing act.
Taking the College Board's language at face value, I think that MUS fulfills both to the letter and to the spirit of AP in our curriculum. AP enhances our curriculum, and obviously it is the only way for students to receive advanced college credit. However, our teachers and their courses stimulate the intellectual and social maturity of our boys without AP. Bottom line(s): These things generally take care of themselves. Our faculty encourages our boys to enroll according to demonstrated appropriate abilities. Parents should "lean in" on their boy where they see a need for higher standards. Don't push where unnecessary. Do a little bit every day towards the big goal and the big goal usually works out. There are a lot of college match options, so maintain an open mind. And, enjoy learning. That's an easy one to forget.