by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Shannon Watkins of the Martin Center devotes a column to the debate over offering college course credit to students who pass Advanced Placement tests.
[T]hose on UNC-Chapel Hill’s general education revision committee likely will not be the only group of faculty to object to the proposed systemwide AP acceptance policy. In many cases, faculty see general education requirements as a means to attracting students to their courses—something that UNC-Chapel Hill professors have openly admitted. Eliminating AP credit for general education requirements will likely fill some empty classrooms—and possibly add faculty positions.
Some might also argue that the introductory courses offered at the university hold a special educational value that AP courses cannot replace. But when one looks at the actual course content of the AP courses and the courses that they could replace, the argument for AP credits becomes even stronger. For AP courses focus on the core knowledge that one would expect from a general education course. But UNC-Chapel Hill’s general education curriculum permits students to bypass essential knowledge for esoteric frills. For example, students can now satisfy their general education history requirement by enrolling in courses such as ANTHRO 151: Anthropological Perspectives on Food and Culture and HIST 557: Bandits, Rebels, and Storytellers: Fiction and History in India.
Indeed, at a time in higher education where students can earn a college degree without having taken a course in American history or having studied Shakespeare in an English 101 course, opening the doors to more AP credit scores could not only save students time and money from taking a similar course twice, but it could also provide students knowledge that they may not otherwise receive.