Opinion

AP teachers should better prepare students

by Jonathan Friedland

Have you ever taken an advanced placement class in which you wish the teacher would spend more time preparing you for the exam and less time talking about his or her personal life or other extraneous material? The superfluous little facts and tidbits about material unrelated to the course are beneficial if delivered in moderation, but when they begin to take up the majority of class time, they only hurt students in the future. Thus, in order to encourage teachers to remain focused on teaching specifically for the AP exam, instructors’ salaries should be based on how well their students perform on the annual test. This change would provide teachers with a financial incentive to teach students material that will help them receive college credit and a better standing on their college application. Passing numerous AP tests throughout high school could lead to a significant reduction in college education expenses and a greater chance of gaining acceptance to your dream school.

Due to the test’s similarity, comparing results between teachers from similar school districts is fairly simple. To ensure fairness, schools in similar areas and districts would be grouped together to determine which teachers had more students pass. Thereby, allocating financial rewards encourages teachers to give in-class tests similar to the AP exam, emulate college curriculum, and prevent the extensive discussion of material not related to the exam.

A widespread increase in preparation for the AP test due to a financial motivation for teachers would not only improve students’ scores, but also prepare them for exams in college. For example, repeated practice for historical and analytical essays that appear on AP exams prepares a writer for the type of college-style writing that is expected of college students.

Lastly, giving pay raises to accomplished teachers helps retain them in the public education system, discouraging them from acquiring far more lucrative jobs. For instance, gaining a “highly effective” rating in a Washington public school can earn a teacher bonuses of up to $15,000 per year. One of the “highly effective” teachers Ms. Johnson received this considerable amount of money because according to her school’s assistant principal, “she’ll get a class full of kids who are below basic, who can’t read, and by the time they leave, they’ll be scoring well above basic or proficient.” When asked about her opinion regarding bonuses, Johnson said “lots of teachers leave the profession, but this has kept me invested to stay. I know they value me.” Thereby, demonstrating that successful teachers become content and willing to keep teaching as a result of financial bonuses. The same principle applies to AP classes as accomplished instructors will keep teaching, not seek out higher paying professions, and increase the overall quality of teachers.

Overall, a system that rewards teachers based on their students’ success on the AP exam will broaden the test-taker’s knowledge in addition to augmenting scores on the annual tests.

(Source: New York Times)


Categories: Opinion

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