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Comments about ‘Utah students 7th in nation for passing AP exams’

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Published: Tuesday, Feb. 11 2014 11:25 a.m. MST

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Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

This information must be incorrect. Since Utah is last in spending per pupil and liberals tell us spending more is always the answer this number 7 place simply cannot be correct.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Chris B nailed it exactly! This is the measure of performance by Utah's students, teachers and parents that is meaningful, not the dollar amount spent.

Let's stop listening to the perpetually unsatisifed teachers' unions who trot out the "last in funding per pupil" talking points every year to demand that taxpayers give up more of their money to fund bloated educational establishment.

Well done to all the teachers and kids and families who put in the hard work to achieve these excellent results!

Sasha Pachev
Provo, UT

Speaking from the experience of having helped a 14 year old pass 4 STEM AP tests with the score of at least 4 on each - all you need is a good textbook, internet access, some sample tests, and a motivated kid. The first three are easy to obtain. The fourth is achieved by proper instruction from a young age in the right environment - which is where the focus should be. I think the 7th place on this benchmark for Utah is an indicator that we have a group of families that raise motivated kids, and now it has reached a size that is statistically significant. You will not see much traction on the ACT averages because everybody takes it and it drowns out the performance of this group, but with fewer people taking AP tests the group can be small and still stand out.

Government OF the people... Abe
Kaysville, UT

I agree- this is great news! But be careful not to make such huge leaps here! This is a "passing rate", or percentage of students who pass the test with a 3,4, or 5 from the graduating class.

Could it be higher? Sure, especially if we had more involved parents and had increased access (i.e. funding) to Advanced Placement courses/teachers. It is not uncommon for students to find AP classes at neighboring high schools, or to even do it independently with help of teachers/parents.

This "Advanced Placement" group accounts for a minority of the students in our schools, and like Sasha Pachev said in her comments above, this is most often the result of not only a good teacher teaching a great AP course, but a motivated kid with most likely an involved parent, family, with access to the tools he/she needs to learn. Translated, this is often in the higher socio-economic areas.

Government OF the people... Abe
Kaysville, UT

Would Utah be even higher if students had increased access to AP courses and even more were prepared to take them? Probably. How is that done? Funding.

NY state is first in per-pupil spending at a whopping $19,000 per pupil. Utah is dead last at $6,200. How did we achieve 7th? Can we attribute our success to our low funding? Is financial investment a factor? Could it be that the reason that NY state is 7th in the nation is because they invest more than 3 times the amount of money per student than Utah, helping 1/4 of seniors to pass one or more AP tests? Probably. Where would NY would place if they only spent $6K per kid? 7th? Probably not.

I wonder what would happen to the academic success of NY schools in 5-10 years if they made a 67% budget cut. Surely they'd stay at 7th because funding has nothing to do with it, right?

The real question is where Utah would we be if we had even $1,000 or $500 more per student in funding? Our state probably couldn't choose to afford a $50/student, but I know it would make a difference.

Orem Parent
Orem, UT

I love when we get a straw man argument from the first poster and the 2nd poster totally agrees with it. Two straw men do not make it true no matter how many times you tell yourself that.

Once again you miss the target. Utah is 7th in the nation. What that should be telling us is that we have some awesome teachers, students, and families.

Now the real leap we should be making is if we can do that well with the worst funding in the nation, imagine where we could be if we raised our spending to even the middle of the pack! We could be so far ahead of every other state. But no, we will have a few that claim money doesn't matter.

Seriously, how can anyone make a serious argument that spending more money in educating our students wouldn't help things? Of course it would. We could be so much more! Stay satisfied with mediocrity. We could be the best.

Orem Parent
Orem, UT

Nothing like being satisfied with being worst in the nation.

jody
OREM, UT

Please tell us which high schools had the most students taking and passing the tests.

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