By Yejin Shin and Soyeon Park
Dubai American Academy has decided to implement the Advanced Placement (AP) course as part of its Program of Studies. It is a program in the United States and Canada, created by the College Board, which offers college-level curricula and examinations for high school students. APs are scored between 1 and 5, and anything above 3 is considered as a pass. It is possible to study for an AP exam independently. However, students can sign up for an AP course through high school registration so it is highly recommended to take the AP classes in school as they are specifically designed to prepare for the AP exams.
According to Ms. Cynthia Frey, the DAA AP coordinator, “DAA decided to incorporate AP courses to provide more choices for students who do not take full IB. It will allow them to take some external examination and gain credit for university. For some students that are not ready for full IB, taking one AP class can be good for them.” She also stated that, “AP course in DAA mainly targets juniors and seniors to begin with, and if more space and course is available, freshmen and sophomores will be also allowed to enroll in an AP class if considered suitable by their teachers.”
Taking an AP class is a way to undertake an academic challenge, and show colleges that individuals are serious about their education. Since AP courses are challenging and require comprehensive preparation, they teach skills that will help with college classes. According to College Board, students who take AP exams get higher grades in college than those who don’t take AP exams. AP courses usually include AP capstone (AP research, AP seminar), Arts, English, History & Social Science, Math & Computer Science, Natural Sciences, and World Language & Culture. However, Ms. Frey stated: “I am currently conducting several surveys looking at interest of all the different subject groups to decide on what subjects should be implemented to the AP course in DAA. The school is considering whether they have teachers to teach the AP subjects and they fit the schedule and the size of the school.”
Several students in DAA are showing positive reactions on incorporating AP courses in the school. Nicole Watchor is a junior interested in taking some AP classes, and she says, “I think it is a really smart decision. I am happy with the introduction of AP in DAA, since many students do not hope to take a full IB and the students will be given a wider variety of options to choose from with AP.” She is interested in taking AP instead of IB, since she plans on going to a university in Canada where IB is barely recognized. She concluded that the “AP course will be much more beneficial for students like myself, who plan to go to a university in regions where AP is more oriented than IB.