The Louisiana Department of Education announced Tuesday the number of high school seniors in Louisiana taking Advanced Placement tests and qualifying for college credit hours has increased by 25 percent from 2012 to 2013.

Consequently, more students in Louisiana are leaving high school with credit hours placing them out of many of the University’s general education courses.

History Professor Andrew Burstein, said he does not believe that students who test out of courses are adequately prepared because high school AP History courses cannot take the place of the kind of thinking advanced History courses require.

“What we teach involves critical thinking and a meaningful understanding of the unpredictable connections between social forces and individual choices, generation by generation,” Burstein said.

However, Burstein’s opinion is not universal.

Ann Martin, English instructor, said when students are allowed to place out of introductory courses it allows them to bypass large lecture classes with hundreds of students.

“I think a lot of times they are intellectually ready,” Martin said. “I get a lot of bright students and it’s great if they can be free from those larger classes.”

Martin said the increased numbers of students entering their freshman year with college credit could cause an increase in graduation rates over time, but it also could show little effect.

“Students may not graduate for a multitude of reasons,” Martin said. “Lots of times they may just not be in the right major.”

Grant Bourque, computer science freshman, said he earned 33 credit hours from taking AP exams in high school, which would allow him to graduate early if he wanted.

“I would think graduation rates would increase because students are getting more intensive work and college-level experience in high school,” Bourque said.

Bourque said his hours earned from AP exams could allow him to spread out his coursework over the four years.

According to The College Board’s annual report, the number of students enrolled in AP courses in Louisiana has increased by 33 percent from 2012 to 2013, rising from 17,496 to 23,435. The number of students taking an AP exam has also greatly increased, expanding college access to students.

However, the study also showed that Louisiana high school students perform poorly on the tests with only 5.3 percent of students scoring a 3 or higher, coming in only ahead of Mississippi.


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