to take an introductory college course in a subject before going on to a second-level course are not known.


The potential for misinterpreting and misusing test results and other aspects of the AP and IB programs is high and likely to become higher unless countermeasures are taken. The consequences of such misuses extend to students, teachers, high schools, and institutions of higher education.

The misuse of scores and programs appears less widespread for the IB than for the AP program. This difference likely results from the IBO’s maintaining tighter control over its program. In addition, the IB program is offered in far fewer schools in the United States than the AP program, making it more difficult to use data on the former program to draw inappropriate comparative inferences about the quality of schools or teachers. Until the College Board makes a concerted effort to educate the media, policymakers, and the public about correct and incorrect interpretations and uses of its examination results, the kinds of abuses described here, and the consequences associated with them, will almost certainly continue and will probably increase.

As this report demonstrates, advanced study programs have an enormous influence on virtually all other components of the education system in the United States. As the programs are currently structured, some of these influences have worked to improve education. However, serious shortcomings persist. It is incumbent upon all individuals and institutions with a stake in improving advanced study and making it accessible to many more students to do so systematically, collaboratively, and in ways that are consistent with emerging research about learning and effective program design. The next chapter offers a series of recommendations for accomplishing these goals. This set of recommendations emerges from the committee’s analysis of existing programs of advanced study; the way these programs influence and are affected by other components of the education system in the United States; and whether the programs’ current structures are consistent with the principles of learning and the design principles of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development set forth in this report.

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