This chapter examines how elite private schools rejected the Advanced Placement (AP) program. Advanced Placement emerged in large part from the labors of a small cadre of representatives from privileged private schools and colleges. A one-line version of its original mission was to ease the transition of high achievers from prep schools into Ivy League institutions and colleges, giving those kids a leg up—literally “advanced placement”—on their baccalaureate studies based on college-level work that they completed during high school. Today, AP can be found in many places and, while solid scores on its exams still denote serious academic accomplishment in high school, that is no longer exceptional. One need not enroll in a posh prep school to participate in AP. What does this mean for elite private schools? In practice, it means that a handful of them have in various ways distanced themselves from AP—and their number is likely to grow, albeit in slightly hypocritical fashion. At the postsecondary level, it means that selective colleges, again mainly the private kind, are making it harder to earn credit via AP exams—and much harder to shorten one's time to degree.
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