The following announcement details the outcome of the effort to raise funds to sustain AP Italian beyond this current 2008-09 academic year. As a reminder, when the College Board announced in spring 2008 the discontinuation of several AP courses, the College Board’s trustees indicated that if external funders came forward to supplement the College Board’s investment in AP Italian, the program could be sustained. A heroic effort was made, led largely by the Italian Language Foundation’s leaders Dr. Margaret Cuomo and Louis Tallarini, true champions of Italian language and cultural studies in the United States.
However, the valiant effort to raise the needed funds was confronted head-on by the unforeseen challenge of the current economic situation, which appears to have restricted organizations’, corporations’, and governmental abilities to partner with the College Board to save AP Italian. Accordingly, with great sadness we announce that AP Italian will be suspended following this current, 2008-09 academic year, and will not be offered in the 2009-10 academic year.
While AP Italian will not be offered in 2009-10, if at some future date the funding partnerships needed to support an AP Italian program arise, the Board of Trustees will consider renewing work to develop and offer the AP Italian course and exam. Please see a message from the Italian Language Foundation, which details their continued deep commitment to AP Italian and their continued efforts on behalf of Italian teachers in the U.S. The government of Italy is also interested in the effort to revive AP Italian at some point in the future, and plans to work closely with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other Italian State Institutions in hopes of raising the funds needed.
While AP Italian will no longer be offered, we strongly recommend that secondary schools make no changes to their fourth- and/or fifth-year Italian courses beyond simply removing the “AP” designation. Instead, these programs should continue to be offered, and we encourage schools to apply the following policies to sustain student enrollment in these capstone Italian courses:
- We encourage schools to give the same GPA weight to their capstone Italian course as they do to AP courses, so that students have the same incentive to take Italian as they do to take AP course work in other languages.
- On your School Profile, we encourage you to note that your capstone Italian program is offered at the same level as the AP programs in other languages. Offering such courses of study beyond the more commonly taught languages demonstrates to admissions offices your school’s commitment to providing an array of rigorous academic opportunities for your students.
- We encourage school counselors to remind students of the following points:
- Because Italian placement exams are provided by college and university departments nationwide, students who remain in your school’s Italian program through your capstone Italian course can continue to receive through the departmental exam the same sort of placement the AP Italian Exam qualified them to receive.
- Admissions officers want to see that students take the most rigorous course work available to them, and in the case of Italian, persisting in the course of study through the capstone course offered by your school will provide admissions officers with evidence that students have studied Italian at the highest and most rigorous level available.
- The College Board continues to offer the SAT® Subject Test in Italian each December, which students can use to demonstrate their proficiency to colleges and universities, and possibly earn placement into intermediate and advanced Italian courses.
We share the disappointment of so many of you that the efforts to raise funds to save AP Italian were ultimately unsuccessful, but we will continue to advocate that schools maintain strong courses of study in Italian language and culture. Please do not hesitate to let us know if there are ways we can champion the study of Italian in your school in the absence of an AP Italian course and exam.