A bill is sitting in the Texas House right now that would require all state public schools to accept a minimum score of 3 on an Advanced Placement exam for college credit. Advanced Placement allows high school students to take college-level classes and exams for college credit.
The legislation, introduced by Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, would change the system currently in place at the University, where 4's and 5's are needed to gain credit for a majority of exams. We generally support this bill, but only if certain precautions are taken.
The University stresses the importance of graduating in four years to its students, and accepting 3's on all AP exams would certainly help that process. The University accepts 3's for 12 of the AP exams, 4's for 17 more and only 2 exams need to be 5's. A 2 on the German Language and Culture AP Exam counts for UT credit. However, we don't think that all 3's should be accepted.
Mellanie Patterson, Student Testing Services coordinator for the University, is concerned a score of 3 will not prepare students for the rigors of their course sequences.
"If they are scoring a 1 or 3, in some instances, they are not very prepared," Patterson said.
Instead, we think that 3's should be accepted for courses that are either University core requirements outside their major or do not relate specifically to a student's field of study. A biology or pre-med student should not be allowed to skip UT biology courses with just a 3, but they should be able to easily test out of American History courses, for example, if they so choose. If a student changes majors, we believe they should have to change their AP credit allowances, too.
Overall, the acceptance of a score of 3 on AP exams across the board for credit at UT would be beneficial to its students. However, it would be important for the University to make sure students use this privilege wisely and don't abuse it.
We think that this bill should pass and be implemented in a manner that wouldn't compromise the education of students.