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  1. The “CP” (“College Prep”) designation in the 2015-2016 of the Student Guide to Courses has been removed. Is this a sign of “de-tracking” from down to up which, I am informed, is generally how de-tracking starts? How are parents to determine which classes are “College Prep” and which teach more remedial skills?

    Politico article by Stephanie Simon on how tracking up to AP hurts students is instructive:

    “At least a dozen states now give schools incentives to offer AP classes and fill them up with students. One popular tactic: Awarding bonus points for high AP participation in the formulas that determine a school’s state rating. Some states give schools extra funds for textbooks or teacher training if they offer AP. Additional incentives come from popular media rankings of “best high schools,” which often give heavy weight to the percentage of students enrolled in AP classes.

    “In fact, taking an AP class does not lead to better grades in college, higher college graduation rates, or any other tangible benefit — unless the student does well enough to pass the AP test, said Trevor Packer, a senior vice president at the College Board.
    In the past, the College Board has pointed to studies that found a correlation between taking an AP class, whatever the outcome, and succeeding in college. Yet that research was flawed because it didn’t control for other predictors of college success, such as family income or high-school grades, Packer said. More rigorous studies find benefits only for students who earn at least a 3 on the AP test.
    That means, Packer said, that hundreds of thousands of students enrolled in AP may be better served by lower-level classes that focus on building foundational skills. “We have no interest in collecting exam fees ,” he said, “if the kids are not going to benefit.”

    Thus, one wonders whether pushing kids up to College Prep, Honors or AP is for the students’ benefit, or to achieve some other goal. Clearly, the removal of the CP designation and parents’ increasing distrust of Superintendent Simeck’s judgment and educational agenda will continue, regardless of who is the next principal.

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