Anabelle Lam – Mustangs Ahead
(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – As Mustangs’ begin to choose classes for the 2020-21 school year, they face some big decisions.
For many, this includes a big choice between Advanced Placement (AP) or Dual Enrollment classes, Both are college level acceleration programs but have key differences.
AP classes are courses offered by the College Board. Dual Enrollment courses are offered through Florida colleges.
At LRHS, students have 24 AP courses in a variety of subjects that they can take.
LRHS AP Coordinator and AP U.S. History teacher Benjamin Hall said, “For students attempting to go to elite universities, either within the state of Florida or outside the state of Florida, the AP program is nationally recognized and offers students a way to distinguish themselves in a way that dual enrollment classes don’t.”
Dual enrollment classes are also college level courses that are offered on and off campus that allow students who fit the criteria to earn college credit.
Although the outcome of college credit is similar, the way the two programs get there vary.
The main difference is when the credit is awarded.
For AP classes, students must get a passing score of three or higher on the end of the year AP exam to obtain college credit depending on the college.
But for dual enrollment, students don’t need to pass an exam at the end of the year. Instead, they must attain a suffcient score on the Post-Secondary Educational Readiness Test(PERT), Scholastic Apptitude Test (SAT) or American College Testing (ACT) exam and maintain a final grade of C or higher in the course.
This difference also tends to change how the class is taught.
AP classes are tailored to the end of the year exam which makes them stricter and more structured. While with dual classes, teachers get more leeway with what and how they want to teach.
Students who are not the best test takers may choose dual enrollment over AP so one test doesn’t determine their credit.
For example, sophomore Cameron Perry said, “I chose to take dual over AP for next year because I didn’t like one test controlling whether or not I got college credit. I’d rather put in the work over the year and finish with a C or higher and get credit that way.”