US: College Board Reinstates Italian AP Test


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College Board Reinstates Italian AP Test

The College Board, a non-profit organization that administers the most widely used college admissions exams in the U.S., has reinstated the Advanced Placement (AP) test for Italian after receiving a financial commitment to support the program from the Italian government. The Board had discontinued the test in 2008, despite a 20% increase in enrollment in Italian foreign language courses from 2005 to 2008. AP exams in Latin literature, French literature, and computer science were also eliminated. The Board cited the low numbers of test-takers in these subjects—several thousand a year compared to hundreds of thousands in mainstream subjects—as the reason for discontinuing the exams. Experts say that high school students tend to choose foreign language courses based on AP testing, expecting their test scores to give them a competitive advantage when applying for college. "We have seen a number of language program cuts across the board, and I think you can presume that some of it is due to the fact that the AP exam is no longer offered," says Bret Lovejoy, executive director of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. According to the Board, it would cost $1.5 million to continue offering the test. The family of Mario Cuomo, the former governor of New York, organized an advocacy group, the Italian Language Foundation, and led a two-year effort to raise funds to help pay for the test. The group finally turned to the Italian government for assistance when their U.S. appeal fell short. "These things don't happen without that level of support," says Margaret Cuomo, who heads the foundation. "And we are very grateful to Prime Minister [Silvio] Berlusconi for that." Italy agreed to match the funds raised by Cuomo's foundation. The AP Italian program will be reinstated in fall 2011, and the first tests will be offered in spring 2012.

From "College Board Prepares for Italian Renaissance"
Washington Post (DC) (11/11/10) de Vise, Daniel

Source: ATA Newsbriefs - November 2010


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