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Other Views: AP test program a winner

FARGO -- Opportunities for higher education in North Dakota took a major step forward last week when the Department of Public Instruction announced a program to help high school students pay for advanced placement tests. The program will help def...

FARGO -- Opportunities for higher education in North Dakota took a major step forward last week when the Department of Public Instruction announced a program to help high school students pay for advanced placement tests. The program will help defray the costs of testing for all students, and include additional support for low-income students.
The joint announcement was made by DPI Superintendent Kirsten Baesler and state Sen. Tim Flakoll, R-Fargo, who is chairman of the Senate Education Committee. The $125 million to fund the program was set aside by the Legislature to spur more advanced placement education. It’s a great incentive.
The course testing will be focused on English, mathematics or science, including computer science. The cost of an initial test will be fully paid by the state, about $90. Additional tests will be discounted, with low-income students getting their costs reimbursed. The expected effect of the program will be outreach to more students, many of whom might not take the tests because of the costs. Additionally, students who have the first test paid for likely will take additional tests at discounted rates.
There are also mechanisms in the program to help families save costs of college tuitions, and incentives for students to complete AP courses in order to qualify for scholarships at public or private colleges. In other words, the more AP exams a student takes, the better the chances of going to college and succeeding.
The program comes at a good time. Higher education is changing with changes in the job market. New economy jobs require specialized education that can begin with taking on the challenge in high school of AP courses and tests. The high school student who gets a head start on exposure to college-level work has an advantage as a freshman college student. And doing it with the possibility of cost savings and scholarships based on academic performance is a winning formula for all.
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead’s Editorial Board formed this opinion.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
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