Advanced Placement Program
The Advanced Placement Program is a program that offers college level school classes for students in high school in the United States and Canada. Good Schools Guide International says it is "much more harder than most classes."
After World War II, the Ford Foundation gave money to support committees studying education. The program was founded and pioneered at Kenyon College in Gambier Ohio, by the then college president Gordon Chalmers which was then called the "Kenyon Plan."  The first study was conducted by three prep schools—the Lawrenceville School, Phillips Academy and Phillips Exeter Academy—and three universities—Harvard University, Princeton University and Yale University. In 1952 they gave the report General Education in School and College: A Committee Report which said to allow high school seniors to study college level material and to take achievement exams that allowed them to attain college credit for this work. The second committee, the Committee on Admission with Advanced Standing, developed and put the plan to choose a curriculum. A pilot program was run in 1952 which covered eleven disciplines.
The College Board, a non-profit organization based in New York City, has run the AP program since 1955. From 1965 to 1989, Harlan Hanson was the director of the Advanced Placement Program. It makes and keeps guidelines for the teaching of higher level courses in various subject areas. In addition, it supports teachers of AP courses and universities. These activities are funded through fees charged to students taking AP Exams.
In 2006, over one million students took over two million Advanced Placement examinations. Many high schools in the United States offer AP courses, though the College Board allows any student to take any examination, regardless of participation in the course. Therefore, home-schooled students and students from schools that do not offer AP courses have an equal opportunity to take the examination.
As of the 2011 testing season, exams cost $87 each, though the cost may be subsidized by local or state programs. Financial aid is available for students who qualify for it; the exam reduction is $22 per exam from College Board plus an additional $8 rebate per fee-reduced exam from the school. There may be further discounts depending on the state. Out of the $87, $8 goes directly to the school to pay for the administration of the test, which some schools will reduce to lower the cost to the student.
On April 3, 2008, the College Board announced that four AP courses – French Literature, Latin Literature, Computer Science AB, and Italian Language and Culture – will be gone after the 2008–2009 school year due to no money.
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Advanced placement coursework is made to be very hard for average high school students. Most AP courses are sufficient preparation for the AP exams that students can take at the end of the year. If students do well on these exams, they can skip the introductory courses in college.
The academic benefit of AP coursework, aside from being able to pass out of college courses with good AP exam scores, is that students get an extra GPA point particularly for that class. An A+ or A in regular US History, for example, will factor in 4.0 GPA points to a student's grade; however, an A+ or A in AP US History would factor in 5.0 GPA points, which would improve that student's grade a lot.
Most students who apply to picky colleges and universities like Stanford University and MIT take between four and eight AP classes in high school. They do this for various purposes: 1. to boost their GPA 2. to give them a sense of college class rigor 3. to allow them to pass out of corresponding classes in college
AP tests are scored on a 1 to 5 scale as follows:
- 5 - Very well qualified
- 4 - Well qualified
- 3 - Qualified
- 2 - Mayble qualified
- 1 - No recommendation
Grading the AP exam is long and complicated. The multiple choice component of the exam is scored by computer, while the free response and essay portions are scored by trained Readers at the AP Reading each June. The scores on various components are weighted and added into a raw Composite Score. The Chief Reader for each exam then decides on the grade cutoffs for that year's exam, which determine how the Composite Scores are converted into final grades. During the process a number of reviews and statistical analyses are performed to ensure that grading is reliable. The overall goal is for the grades to reflect an absolute scale of performance which can be compared from year to year.
Some colleges use AP test scores to exempt students from introductory coursework. Each college's policy is different (see link below), but most require a score at least 3 to 4 to receive credit. Typically this appears as a "CR" grade on the college transcript, although some colleges and universities will award an A grade for a 5 score. Some foreign countries such as Germany, that do not offer general admission to their universities and colleges for holders of an American high school diploma without long preparatory courses will directly admit students that have completed a specific set of AP tests, depending on the subject they wish to study.
Beginning with the May 2011 AP Exam administration, there was a change to the way AP Exams are scored. Total scores on the multiple-choice section are now based on the number of questions answered correctly. Points are no longer deducted for incorrect answers and no points are awarded for unanswered questions.
This was changed back after 2011, where all tests taken in 2012 and in the future would not deduct scores for wrong answers 
Exam subsidies [change]
Recognizing that the cost could be an impediment to students of limited means, a number of states and municipalities independent of the College Board have discounted the cost. For example, Florida reimburses schools districts for the exam costs of students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses. The Los Angeles Unified School District, the Montebello Unified School District, the Hawaii Department of Education, New York City Department of Education, and Indiana reduce all AP Examination fees in math and science, and the Edmonds School District in suburban Seattle currently subsidizes Advanced Placement fees of students who enroll in the free school lunch program. In addition some school districts offer free tests to students enrolled in any Advanced Placement class.
- Advanced Placement (AP) — Good Schools Guide International
- "A Brief History of the Advanced Placement Program". College Board. http://www.collegeboard.com/prod_downloads/about/news_info/ap/ap_history_english.pdf. Retrieved 2009-01-29.
- "Historical Markers: Kenyon College". Kenyon College. Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. http://wayback.archive.org/web/20110722185928/https%3A//lbis.kenyon.edu/sca/markers/college. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
- Stanley N. Katz (March 10, 2006). "The Liberal Arts in School and College". The Chronicle of Higher Education. http://chronicle.com/article/The-Liberal-Arts-in-School-and/10344. Retrieved 2011-01-21.
- About the College Board from collegeboard.com
- The History of the AP Program from collegeboard.com Archived 27 June 2007 at WebCite
- DiYanni, Robert (2008). "The History of AP Program". CollegeBoard.com. http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/courses/21502.html. Retrieved 23 July 2009.
- The Advanced Placement Program from collegeboard.com Archived 28 June 2007 at WebCite
- Program Summary Report 2006 from collegeboard.com
- AP Fact Sheet from collegeboard.com
- AP: Frequently Asked Questions from collegeboard.com
- Fees & Fee Reductions
- "AP Language, Computer Courses Cut". The Washington Post. April 4, 2008. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/04/03/ST2008040303977.html.
- Important Announcement about AP Italian Language and Culture from collegeboard.com
- AP: The Score-Setting Process from Collegeboard.com
- "AP Central – Exam Scoring". College Board. Archived from the original on 2008-01-13. http://web.archive.org/web/20080113162234/http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/courses/1994.html.
- Understanding AP Exams from PathAspire.com
- Multiple-Choice Scores from collegeboard.com
- "Guess What? Taking AP Exams Just Got Easier". ParentDish. 2010. http://www.parentdish.com/2010/08/12/guess-what-taking-ap-exams-just-got-easier/. Retrieved March 6 2011.
- AP Eliminates Guessing Penalty On Tests