National Curricula For Advanced Science Classes In American High Schools? The Influence Of The College Board'S Advanced Placement Program On Science Curricula

Unlike many countries, the USA does not have a national system of education, and consequently there is tremendous variation in high school science curricula. Although there exist no federally sanctioned exit examinations, the College Board has partially filled this void through its Advanced Placement (AP) Program. This voluntary, non‐governmental programme offers subject‐specific examinations whereby students may earn college credit. To determine the influence of this nation‐wide testing programme, the researcher performed within‐subjects analysis of course curricula using information provided by educators experienced in teaching accelerated students both independently and within the AP Program. Although no assessment of quality was made, it was determined that teachers presented material in greater breadth, in greater depth, and with much greater speed when preparing students for the AP examination. The responsiveness of teachers to College Board recommendations demonstrates that nation‐wide science curricula can be implemented through the use of credit‐bearing examinations.