Policy-Setting Case Studies

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University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Comprehensive Policy Review

In 2010, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte received AP Exam scores from more than 1,300 AP students. Although the university had credit and placement policies in place for 30 AP Exams, a policy review was encouraged during a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation. β€œIn assessing our procedures for reviewing office policies, we determined that as an institution, we had never reviewed our AP credit policies,” explained Tina McEntire, associate provost for enrollment management.

The Office of Admissions decided to implement a campuswide AP credit and placement policy review, motivated by recent changes in AP courses and exams and the increasing number of students arriving on campus with AP experience. Faculty in departments with a corresponding AP course and exam were asked to review AP course descriptions and released exams in order to:

  • Gauge alignment between AP course and exam content and the introductory course at UNC Charlotte.
  • Determine appropriate placement for AP students depending upon their AP Exam scores.
  • Verify whether and to what extent AP experience prepared students to be successful at UNC Charlotte.

Results of the policy review indicated that for most departments, the existing credit and placement policy was appropriate and should remain in place. Several departments decided to change the minimum score required for credit/placement while others considered altering the amount of credit/placement they awarded. Most importantly, administrators and faculty at UNC Charlotte are now assured that their AP policies are evidenced-based and appropriate for their institution and students. Tina McEntire and her colleagues now plan to conduct policy reviews on an annual basis.

University of Michigan-Dearborn

AP Credit and Placement Policy Website

The University of Michigan-Dearborn believes that AP helps facilitate academic preparation and achievement among high school students β€” valuable considerations for university admission and enrollment. Looking to attract AP students, the university developed a website devoted to explaining and outlining their AP credit and placement policies.

The UM-Dearborn website, which launched in March 2010, features an AP credit and placement policy chart, which clearly delineates the minimum required exam score, the amount of credit a student may be awarded for successful scores, the equivalent UM-Dearborn course and how the credit may be applied (as general credit or lower distribution). The site also explains how to submit scores, how scores will appear on transcripts and potential cost savings.