Tufts University AP Credit Policy Reduces Students’ Credits

There was an article in the Tufts Daily on Sept 18th  that discusses Tufts University’s decision to put a cap on the number of credits a student can earn from AP scores.  This does not bode well for incoming students who thought they would have many prerequisites under their belt due to good AP scores.

Despite some student opposition, the Educational Policy Committee (EPC) voted in April to overhaul the school’s handling of AP credits. The EPC capped the number of pre-matriculation credits that Arts and Sciences students can put toward their degrees at five; for School of Engineering students, the number was  limited to eight. Before the EPC vote, there had been no limit on the number of AP credits on which students could draw.

Policy changes like this could put a major crimp in the Advanced Placement Program.  Obviously, one of the most attractive features of an AP course/exam is the student’s ability to earn “college credit” for their high school class if they score well on their exam.  This can translate into a significant tuition savings.

I don’t really buy all the arguments in the article as to why Tufts changed the policy.  For example:

In making the change, the EPC argued that AP courses do not always meet the standards of rigidity set by supposedly comparable Tufts courses. As a result, students whoTufts University - Ballou Hall received credit for introductory-level courses and skipped to higher-level classes were often ill-prepared for the jump, according to EPC Chair Jack Ridge.

While some exams such as AP Calculus are generally seen as matching the rigor of college-level material, other tests such as those in U.S. history and Biology are often harder to equate to a Tufts class, Ridge said.

If the above is the issue, the score needed to achieve credits should be raised for courses such as U.S. History and biology that are hard “to equate to a Tufts class”.  If a score of 5 is not sufficient than perhaps Tufts should not give credit for US History but leave other classes like Calculus alone.  The policy  they came up with d0es not seem to address the problem quoted above as it sounds like students could still receive credit for U.S. History.  It seems the policy established is really about giving students less AP credits, making them take more courses at Tufts.  This, of course, translates into more tuition or students staying in school longer padding the bottom line.  Perhaps Tufts is trying to lower the quality of their applicant pool.  Why would high achieving students who take a large number of Advanced Placement courses and score well on many exams  choose to apply to Tufts when other colleges allow them take advantage of their “credits”?

If other colleges follow suit with similar policies, there will be a great change in how students view Advanced Placement courses and exams.  I sincerely hope that this is not a financial decision based solely on a college’s need to receive more tuition.

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