Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate Credit Policy
Does Carnegie Mellon grant AP exemptions for First-Year Writing?
As of Fall 2007, all first-year students must take 76-101. Carnegie Mellon University will no longer accept any Advanced Placement (AP) score in place of 76-101, Interpretation and Argument. In other words, there is no longer an AP exemption for First-Year English. This policy is a new one, based upon a mismatch between 76-101
(Interpretation and Argument) and the AP courses and testing materials.
Transfer students who have been granted AP credit from another institution should consult with their Carnegie Mellon college advisors to manage their transfer of credits.
After reviewing both courses and exams carefully, it is not clear to us that we have enough evidence to suggest that after earning a score of 5 on the exams, students will have been prepared adequately to exempt from this course and still be able to move on with the skills students learn in 76101.
We considered the difference between the preparation students receive in their high schools for college-level writing via the AP and IB courses and exams, and what our course description states as our aim that “the course is geared toward helping students understand the requirements of college-level writing.” Three of the biggest gaps we perceive between the understandings of college-level writing are: first, the types of reading students do, specifically, our students read arguments, and learn to tease out writers' assumptions, which the AP/IB curriculum accomplishes more in the way of teaching students to recognize themes and do literary analysis; second, our curriculum teaches students to perform synthesis of arguments, rather than incorporating arguments into an essay and offering an opinion; and third, we focus on having students learn to contribute their own argument on a topic and engage in what it means to be an author at a level the AP/IB does not accomplish reliably across all schools. Additionally, we are skeptical that the buzzwords that are used to describe the concepts and skills taught at this level in fact align with the meaning and outcomes we assign to them.
Please direct any questions you have about placement to Arianna Garofalo, Coordinator of the First-Year Writing Program, or Dr. Danielle Wetzel <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Program Director.