A former Cherokee County valedictorian: ”Nearly impossible not to get a 100 in a joint enrollment class.”

A former Woodstock High valedictorian sent me this e-mail amid the Etowah High School controversy over who deserved to be awarded the No. 1 spot — a student at the high school or a joint enrolled college student who never attended the school. (You have to read the background on this as it’s complicated.)

I have Lauren Clark’s permission to share her comments here. What I found interesting is her observation that her college courses were easier than her high school AP classes, yet gave her a higher GPA.

I  have been told that same thing by other joint enrolled students — with the exception students enrolled in math classes at Georgia Tech. (After all the comments during the HOPE discussion about how tough Tech is compared to the rest of the state’s colleges, I have to wonder whether Tech is too hard on students or whether other campuses are too easy?)

I asked a college professor about Clark’s experience and her response was that AP classes are usually every day so students are living with that intensity on a daily basis. College classes are not five days a week. College teachers aren’t as focused on whether students did the work or show up as they regard their students as adults.

And she noted that AP teachers in high schools are under great pressure to get their students to excel on the AP exams, which are created and scored by the College Board. So, both teachers and students face accountability measures in AP classes that don’t exist in the college setting. College professors are not under any pressure for their students to score well on a standardized test that can then be compared to other classes in the same system and to national performance. Professors create and give their own tests.

Here is Lauren’s letter:

I am writing in response to an article I recently read in the AJC regarding the valedictorian controversy at Etowah High School. As the Woodstock High School Class of 2003 valedictorian and a former join enrollment student at Kennesaw State, I believe I can offer a unique perspective on this issue.

I will not spend much time discussing the absurdity of allowing a student to be valedictorian at a school she has never attended. I believe that it should be obvious that such a loophole should be closed. I would prefer to touch on the matter of weighting grades, the difficulty level of joint enrollment classes vs. AP classes, and how the current status-quo is causing students to take the path of least resistance, to their detriment.

Halfway through my freshman year at Woodstock High School, I learned that I was ranked #2 in my class. I was the ‘new kid’ at school and had no idea how I would compare to the rest of the students. Upon finding out how close I was to the #1 spot, I began to aggressively work harder in my classes. By the end of my second semester freshman year, I was ranked #1. I maintained this #1 ranking through my entire sophomore year and halfway into my junior year. It wasn’t until my second semester of junior year that I dropped back down to #2.

At the time that my rank fell to #2, I was in the process of deciding whether to continue taking AP classes at WHS or to joint enroll at Kennesaw. Ultimately, I decided to go to Kennesaw. Why? Because my goal was to graduate as #1, and as long as the other #1 didn’t joint enroll as well, it would guarantee me the title of Valedictorian. How did I know this?

1.  Joint enrollment class give higher grades:

Joint enrollment classes are weighted the same way as AP class – extra 10 points. However, unlike AP classes, Kennesaw will not provide the high school with a numerical grade. They simply give you an A or B or whatever it is you earned. And the high school then takes that ‘A’ and gives you a number grade. That number grade happens to be a 100…which is then weighted to a 110. This is absurd.

Does anyone actually believe that I earned a 100 in that class? I can assure you I did not. Anyone who has ever taken a college course and realizes that a 90 will get you just as good of an A as a 99 will tell you that they calculate their effort in the class to get just a 90. There is no point in getting a 100 in the class. Even an overachieving, grade-grabbing perfectionist like myself saw no reason to waste time trying to get a perfect grade when I knew it would be given to me anyway.

1.  Joint enrollment classes are easy.

For the average ’smart kid’, entry level college course are not challenging. When compared to AP classes, they are even more laughable. My calculus exams at Kennesaw were composed of homework problems verbatim, so if I did my homework the weeks leading up to an exam, all I had to do was re-work them to get an easy A on my exam. My business law class allowed us to bring legal sized cheat sheets to every exam. I skipped an entire week of lectures right before an exam to go skiing and still managed to come back and get an A on the exam. My political science exams offered at least 25 bonus points on every test and the questions came straight from the book. Is this what AP classes are like? Certainly not.

I took some AP classes at WHS before deciding to joint enroll. They are incredibly difficult and it would be highly unlikely that anyone would get a 100 in them. The whole point of the classes is to challenge the best and the brightest. If the brightest were able to coast right through them, they wouldn’t be call advanced placement classes. Ask any AP teacher or student and I can assure you that they are insulted that joint enrollment classes are given the same weight as an AP class. I’ve seen both sides of the fence and I can say without any hesitation that it is unfair to AP students.

So now we’ve essentially established that is nearly impossible to get a 100 in an AP class while nearly impossible not to get a 100 in a joint enrollment class. If a student opts to take joint enrollment classes for 2 years, it makes it impossible for anyone else to compete for the title of valedictorian. In the article, Dr. Petruzielo made a comment that the current policy has been in place for ten years and never been an issue. This is simply not true. I graduated eight years ago and it was just as big of a controversy then as it seems to be now. The only reason this instance is getting more publicity is due to the egregious nature of the current situation and how the joint enrolled student has never attended classes at Etowah.

When I was a senior at WHS, there was extreme discontent amongst the top students at EHS. I grew up with those people, took gifted classes with them, and remained friends with them throughout high school. I was well aware that joint enrollment students were jumping up in class ranks at a rapid (and undeserved) rate. There were issues amongst my own graduating class, but it never got out of hand because no one could really argue that I was ’stealing’ the title from anyone. I was always at the top. I would challenge the school system to look back at the valedictorians and salutatorians over the past 10 years and see how many of those top students were joint enrolled. I don’t think the answer were come as much of a surprise.

This system needs to be changed. What is happening to Ms. Perlotto is tragic. If students are tired of high school and want to jump right in to college, go ahead and let them. But don’t give them an unfair advantage.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

55 comments Add your comment


March 17th, 2011
11:00 am

What she says makes perfect sense, when you consider that the people taking AP classes and at the tops of their classes will be applying to and getting accepted by some of the top schools in the nation. As a joint enrollment student at Kennesaw or West Georgia, you will not be in class with that calibre of student other than, possibly, other joint enrollment students.


March 17th, 2011
11:02 am

Very astute of the student to recognize the difference in expectations between the courses. I don’t think the differences between teachers’ expectations can ever be completely closed. I encouraged my children to take the most difficult and challenging courses, and they were always eager to do so. To them and to me it was always more important to learn as much as possible than to earn the highest grade.

Too many people are trying to turn the GPA into a numbers game. While there are some advantages for high GPAs, there are more long-term advantages for learning more.


March 17th, 2011
11:03 am

Seems joint enrollment is not so demanding. My daughter found her AP classes to be challenging and she did well. She now attends a top 20 college and she states her classes are very demanding; she studies every night including weekends. (I compliment her without revealing my level of effort when I was in college.) Her school gives letter grades based on a numerical score, an “A” is 93.5-100, an “A-” is 90-93.4″, etc.

Re Tech, my sister went there and found it very difficult. The sense I get from some families interested in Tech is that they want to go another Georgia university/college for freshman year and then transfer, that way they can take the core math and science classes, maintain a high GPA and then transfer to Tech.

FYI: The NYTs last year reported on a recent survey of the most rigorous U.S. schools and Morehouse was #1, the implication was that Morehouse set very high scholastic performance standards and demanded their students meet them..


March 17th, 2011
11:06 am

I certainly wouldn’t be surprised that high school AP classes are more difficult than freshman level classes at an open enrollment community college. But that it may be true of a four-year school is a little surprising.


March 17th, 2011
11:07 am

Gotta agree with Lauren. I graduated four years ago from a DeKalb school, #4 in my class. Thankfully this was never an issue, as I never joint enrolled (and instead took a ton of APs). That said, my friends who did joint enrollment always spoke of their classes as a welcome respite. They were easy. Crazy easy. They went to school half the time, and always had ridiculously easy homework.

And now as someone who went to Emory, I can say some of my college courses *here* would be easy for what Lauren calls the “average ’smart kid’”. APs are tougher because of those exams, because it’s every day, and because (hopefully) you have an engaged teacher who really wants to see you succeed. It’s a shame that the county hasn’t remedied this sillyness.


March 17th, 2011
11:14 am

To CW,

That would be a huge mistake for the students in those families. Imagine taking upper level GT engineering courses with a Kennesaw State calculus base? The reason the freshmen classes are difficult is that the upper levels classes are even more difficult. If the student isn’t prepared for the rigors of freshmen level classes at Georgia Tech, that student should probably explore an easier school.

high school teacher

March 17th, 2011
11:14 am

I have heard students in the past discuss the same issue. As a matter of fact, I had senior in my college prep Brit Lit class who compared their courseload to their friends in a joint enrollment program, and the Brit Lit kids had more rigor. I have also heard from counselors that some of the more prestigious colleges do not recognize credit from joint enrollment programs. Does anyone know if this is true?


March 17th, 2011
11:17 am

Lauren pointed out in her letter that the point of AP classes is to challenge the brightest minds in the school. The point of a freshman class in college, particularly schools like Kennesaw that are not R-1research universities designed to move some percentage on to graduate schools, is to get students some core knowledge so that they can a) meet the Regents’ criteria for a well-rounded education and b) move on to disciplinary specialty classes with the basic prerequisite information. Freshman classes are mixed in terms of students’ achievement – the valedictorian in high school sits next to the kid who squeaked past the admissions committee – and the instructors have to try to make sure they both “get” the material covered. In AP courses, there are only good students and better students; the lower 50% of the student distribution in terms of effort, innate ability, and previous training is cut off. That said, the best schools, like Georgia Tech and some of the programs at University of Georgia, are more like AP courses all over again – only the most motivated, brightest, best prepared get in and to stay in they have to put forth the effort.


March 17th, 2011
11:19 am

Yawn. Leave it to this waste of bandwidth column to find something that suits her take and treat it as though it had any authority or carried any weight. Meanwhile the assertion by the letter writing child that she is a “perfectionist” while admitting to slacking to do just enough is simultaneously laughable and pathetic. Should the policy be changed? {shrug} That’s up to the local administration. Was the honor correctly awarded? Absolutely. And no amount of whining should have any bearing on that.


March 17th, 2011
11:19 am

I took one AP class in HS and realized how much effort it was and registered as a full-time college student my senior year of high school. I see no reason why so many high schoolers take AP classes. You have to go to class every day, the work is challenging, then you have to take an in-depth exam to figure out IF you get college credit. Go to any local university, make straight As, bring your HS GPA up and walk away from your graduation with a higher GPA, a higher ranking AND a year of college under your belt. I used to wonder about the common sense of my classmates who didn’t do joint-enrollment.

The high school I went to weighted our grades by 10 points as well for college courses but our letter grades didn’t transfer at that high of a rate. For me, an A = 95, B = 85, etc. and then they added 10 points. Still possibly unfair but they weren’t making the assumption that an A in college equated to a 100 and thus a 110 for GPA purposes, “ONLY” 105.


March 17th, 2011
11:21 am

Dunno if other colleges are too easy on their students. Georgia Tech is tough, but I hope it doesn’t change. You would pretty much have to be nuts to enroll in Tech math classes as a high school student.


March 17th, 2011
11:24 am

@high school teacher. The Ivy universities and many others in the top tier do not recognize joint enrollment. I know three parents whose children graduated as valedictorians with full AP loads (in Oconee County, Clarke Central, and Cedar Shoals). All told me that they investigated joint enrollment when their children were sophomores to find that it simply doesn’t count as much in admissions decisions as AP, which is nationally standardized. In none of these cases would the schools the students were aiming for count joint enrollment at University of Georgia for academic credit at their universities, and the Ivy Leagues will not count AP credit as course credit, even for freshman year. On the other hand, I believe Georgia Tech admits high school students joint enrollment and gives them college credit.


March 17th, 2011
11:31 am

Apparently high school students are getting an even better education on how the real world works than we knew. “Gaming the system” has come to the forefront of American life, with what you get becoming vastly more important than how you got it — from Wall Street to Google results, from social welfare programs to the HOPE scholarship, from getting accepted at an Ivy League school to winning American Idol. Real untarnished merit has less to do with winning than ever before.

Random Thought

March 17th, 2011
11:31 am

@high school teacher

Some prestigious schools do not recognize joint enrollment classes. A student from my high school had an early acceptance to MIT on the condition he completed advance calculus at the high school before graduation. He decided to take a joint enrollment calculus class to obtain college credit but was later told that it was unnecessary because all incoming students were required to take calculus at MIT, so he received no credit.


March 17th, 2011
11:54 am

Sounds like there is a lot of grade inflation going on at Kennesaw.


March 17th, 2011
12:01 pm

@ Techmom–Believe it or not, there are a few people out there who want to challenge themselves and learn how to think, instead of just gaming the system, as described in Socrates post. Imagine that.


March 17th, 2011
12:08 pm

As an AP US History teacher, I have seen the differences in my own course and the Joint Enrollment version first hand. Every year when I get my EOCT scores back, the joint enrollment students are included on my sheets. Without fail, the average score for the AP Students is 10 points higher than the Joint Enrollment. Is this because I “teach to a test”? Yes– the AP Exam. It requires amuch deeper knowledge of US History and my AP Students score in the 90’s on the EOCT after preparing for the EOCT. The Joint Enrollment students score in the high 70’s and low 80’s because the rigor and the push for a very deep content knowledge is, quite frankly, missing from a lot of the survey classes, especially those at community colleges.


March 17th, 2011
12:09 pm

@Lynx This is from the University of Georgia admissions webpage:

“UGA will guarantee admission to students graduating as the valedictorian or salutatorian of any SACS accredited Georgia high school.”

And, thanks to the recent changes by the Legislature in Hope scholarship eligibility, the top two graduates also get a full ride scholarship.

So as long as you graduate in the top two, you can get into UGA with a full ride from HOPE. It doesn’t matter if neither of the top two are the academic equal of students from other high schools who may find themselves relegated to UGA’s waiting list.

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

a dad

March 17th, 2011
12:13 pm

My son did joint enrollment, and I agree that his college courses did not demand as much time committment as his other HS courses. But, I’m not sure if those college courses were any less “rigorous.” A lot of his HS coursework was simply busywork. He HAD to do homework whether or not he already understand the concept because homework was a part of grades. Educational value of many of his projects were questionable at most. In his college courses, he was expected to learn the materials. Homework was assigned to help him learn the materials, but they weren’t a part of grades. It was his responsibility to make sure he learned the material – not the instructors’.


March 17th, 2011
12:45 pm

Interesting comments thus far. I believe a consideration should also be if the student plans to attend a Ga college after graduation. Given the rules for accepting credits, it could help reduce the amount of time in college thus saving parents more money.

I’m sure everyone posting thus far is aware that joint enrollment ‘eats’ into the HOPE allocation but the benefit is the student is more than likely living at home during the joint enrollment period.

My son opted for joint enrollment because he wanted to expose himself to the ‘college experience’ at an earlier stage to prepare himself for being on his own. As a parent, I liked it because he was still under my roof during this period. He took advanced courses at Ga. State and felt they provided greater rigor than course he would have taken in High School. Ironically at that time, he recieve a lesser credit for the college course over his equivalent High School course, due to a technicality at the time. It has since been corrected.

Common Since

March 17th, 2011
12:46 pm

My AP coursework my senior year in high school was more difficult than any two semesters at Georgia Tech. AP classes are time intensive and have significantly higher course load than college courses.

the prof

March 17th, 2011
12:49 pm

Quite frankly, this student is giving way to much credit to herself and to other students. Students are lucky just to get to that 90 mark, much less trying to “calculate their effort” in a class. How laughable!

another comment

March 17th, 2011
12:57 pm

The AP and IB Classes are very tough. It is very unfortunate that it is now expected that your child take a minimum of 5 AP or IB exams to even have a shot to get into an IV league school if you are not a legacy or your name is not Bush. Just look it up on some of the Ivies sites they clearly tell you to take the most difficult number of classes offered. Then most of them do not even count the IB or AP courses for credit, if they do it has to be a 5. But as I have told my daughter, you might as well take the freshman classes even at the top 20 classes in English 101, Phys. 101, History 101, because they are the easy A’s in college. Especially if you take a Science, Math, Engineering or Architecture major.

There is absolutely no comparison taking joint enrollment courses at a non-research college vs at a Research University that teaches Engineering. Let me put it this way can a graduate of Kennesaw State, West Georgia , Albany State design a nuclear reactor. The answer is No!! Can a graduate of Georgia Tech! Quite possibly. How many students that even make it in Georgia tech or any other top 10 Engineering program change majors after the first year because they can’t cut it in Engineering 101, about 50%.

Engineering and Architecture are among the hardest majors you can take in school. They are not taught at the schools where you do not have to take the SAT or ACT to be enrolled.

The Joint enrollment should not count when it comes from schools that don’t require any SAT or ACT admissions criteria to be enrolled. That show you that the classes are the equivalent of taking on level classes.

Joint-enrolled students should not be allowed to be Valdictorian or Saldictorian, just like they are not allowed to be on the Varsity Cheerleading team. You make a choice, either your a full time student and a represtative of the school or not.


March 17th, 2011
1:03 pm

She took JED classes at Kennesaw! Thats all she needed to say. I took a Calc I class at KSU my senior year of High School and got an A and I don’t think I ever went to class. Then I took Calc II at Georgia Tech and got a D. Freshman classes at Kennesaw are much easier than the AP class in high school. I think it depends on the college you go to. If you are going to top university or college, stick to you AP classes, the freshman courses at local colleges aren’t going to prepare you for college.


March 17th, 2011
1:12 pm

It is intetesting how we respect schools which are recognized for their rigor- but in the same breath, dare our K-12 schools to use the same standards. It would be interesting to see what would happen if this were instituted across the board. I do believe we would see things change. The “self esteem” curriculum used in Georgia schools has sabotaged academic achievement.


March 17th, 2011
1:17 pm

It appears the high grade scores attained in college nowadays do not equate with job skills.

George P. Burdell

March 17th, 2011
1:35 pm

The point that everyone is missing is the objective of Advanced Placement(AP) and Joint Enrollment Honors Program(JEHP) courses. They are designed to prepare high school students for college, but do so in different ways.

AP courses are much more grueling as far as coursework goes. You are there every day and you have a very specific test that you must pass in order to gain college credit. AP courses do a great job of teaching the student what particularly grueling coursework can be like in college. Not all college coursework is that grueling (not even at Georgia Tech).

JEHP courses on the other hand may not be as grueling. You are not there everyday with a teacher holding or slapping your hand to get you to do well, and you do not have a specific test to complete in order to gain college credit. JEHP courses do a great job of teaching the student personal responsibility, and how to handle a course without having your hand held (or slapped) along the way. This is a very important lesson to learn since most honors students have never been introduced into this environment, which is exactly what it will be like once they enter college.

While at Tech, I saw many times students with tons of AP coursework under their belt fail miserably and drop out because they could not handle the personal responsibility required to succeed. At the same time, I saw students with JEHP coursework barely skirt along in the tough classes, but do well in lighter coursework classes because they didn’t know how to handle such a high load.

Both AP and JEHP courses do a great job at teaching students specific lessons on what is required in the next level of education. Is one superior to another? I would have to say no. Should they be weighed the same? I would have to say yes. They both teach very different lessons. Learning both, in my opinion, is the best way to succeed in college.


March 17th, 2011
1:36 pm

I agree with GTgrad. High school students should keep taking those AP classes because they will benefit them in the short and long term. The rest of the high school students need to know that they will not be attending the good schools — heck they’ll have trouble getting into Georgia State — without very strong academics. The competition is fierce.


March 17th, 2011
1:39 pm

Tech students sure do whine a lot.


March 17th, 2011
1:39 pm

Agree also with George Burdell. I’ve seen more than few students with great H.S. GPAs flounder in freshman college classes because no one was following them around and making sure that they did their school work.


March 17th, 2011
1:41 pm

Who cares? People need to stop whining so much. You want to take AP, then take AP. You want to do joint enrollment, then do it. I feel bad for the girl ar Etowah who is at the top of her class and hasn’t attended class there. I’ve felt bad for her since I read the first article that came out about her. She didn’t ask or campaign to be Valedictorian. Think about the “angry mob” of students that obviously hate her guts and have never even met her. Valedictorian is not a popularity contest. If you want to win a popularity contest, run for student council. She didn’t ask to be Valedictorian, and those students there are being obnoxious over something that will probably have no bearing in either one of the students’ future after their freshman year of college. This is so stupid, the school is going to operate the way they want. Don’t punish some young girl for that.

Texas Pete

March 17th, 2011
1:45 pm


If she didn’t ask to be Valedictorian then how is this even a story? Why hasn’t she simply refused the title?

Academy Graduate

March 17th, 2011
1:49 pm

My boyfriend and I both did joint enrollment. He went to an Ivy and I went to a top thirty school. All of our joint enrollment credits that we applied to have transferred were accepted.

Also, he was the valedictorian of his class and he worked hard for it. Advanced Academy students (not joint enrollment at Kennesaw) are required to take mostly honors-level courses, which are much harder than high school classes (AP or regular). Not all school districts give the 10 point bump (mine didn’t, his gave five).

This woman’s experience and opinion are not the norm.

Yankee Prof

March 17th, 2011
2:02 pm

I teach at one of the colleges that currently does not require SAT for enrollment, and you are correct “Another Comment,” that we do not offer architecture or engineering clases. But our students who have earned associate’s degrees from our two-year program and transfered to Ga. Tech have faired very well there and have earned an above average graduation rate, actually. The same goes for our graduates transfering into any other program at any other USG 4-year school.

Our freshman-level courses are every bit as challenging in their way as those offered at four year institutions. We certainly have to pace things differently, considering the large number of under-prepared students we serve for whom much of the material is brand new. But, since our classes are being taught by professional instructors (most of whom have earned Ph.D.s) as opposed to graduate students, we have ample human resources to identify those better prepared students and offer them further challenges just as we also identify those underperformers whose potential must be nurtured in order to move on to success.

We should all be proud of our flagship schools, but don’t underestimate the value of our access institutions in fueling the ongoing success of those programs.


March 17th, 2011
2:03 pm

“Engineering and Architecture are among the hardest majors you can take in school.”

What’s your source?

Outside Observer

March 17th, 2011
2:12 pm

I can give my input as a recent graduate (2008), who took AP classes, dual-enrollment, and am now enrolled at Georgia Tech. If I was to rank the difficulty of my classes, it would be GT first, AP classes second, and dual-enrollment last. However, there was only one AP class that I would consider more challenging than any class I have taken at GT (I am a management major FYI). Similarly, there wasn’t a single AP class I took that I considered easier than my dual enrollment class. Why did I take dual enrollment? Well, my school only offered one AP language arts class (lit), and I would need to take two for credit at GT. I could take dual enrollment (which was known to be easier) and get credit for both language arts credits in college. I took that route, took a couple of easy dual enrollment classes, and I haven’t stepped foot in an language arts class at GT. If I had to make the same choice again, I would do the exact same thing. Now, I wasn’t in the running for Val or Sal, I slacked off too much in my earlier high school years to be close. But I agree that being in dual-enrollment would give a student an edge. Personally, I think Tech is a bit rough on the students (which might cause problems for them with the recent changes in HOPE eligibility). Just my two cents though.

Atlanta mom

March 17th, 2011
2:14 pm

Georgia Tech is the only university in Georgia that has not gone the plus/minus route for grades. That’s because the grading is so hard at Tech.
And, just so you know, if your school offers AP Calc, GT won’t let you take calculus as a joint enrolled student. You can only take science and math classes and none that are offered at your HS.


March 17th, 2011
2:22 pm

Students at Thomas Jefferson HS of Science and Technology (the top rated public high school in the country) take a curriculum that starts with AP courses and ends with college-level courses designed by the schools’ Ph.D. faculty in science and engineering. Students have to keep a B average to stay in the school. About 3,000 8th grade students in Northern Virginia take the entrance exam, 1500 pass and are invited to complete in-depth applications, and around 400 are admitted each year to the freshman class. The “safety schools” for the bottom of those in graduating classes are U Virginia and Duke.

The overall rigor of the high school experience should be the primary concern for top students (our “best and brightest”), not whether you can string together an alphabet soup of “college-level” courses or co-registered community college classes. Every state or at least every region needs a school that offers the complete environment of challenge for the brightest most motivated students.


March 17th, 2011
3:03 pm

Where’s the scam in HS students figuring out how to play this game call life? Haven’t they just figured it out a little sooner than everyone else?


March 17th, 2011
5:40 pm

Even the new “Zell Miller Scholarship” is NOT a full ride. It will only pay 100% tuition. Add to that room and board, fees, and books and the student and/or parents will still be paying out of pocket expenses. College is not cheap. Make the most of it, have fun, and try your best!! College is also NOT for all students.

A Mom

March 17th, 2011
6:48 pm

DA got it right. Think what you want about AP or dual enrollment. I think it is great that there are options. Also, be careful when judging others. There are many dual enrollment programs and they differ. What the participants go on to do differs. What AP students go on to accomplish varies. Every dual enrollment student is not calculating a way to the valedictorian like Lauren. Every dual enrollment student does not stop at achieving a 90 either. What Lauren writes about is only her experience in specific classes at only Kennesaw. That does not mean it applies to all dual enrollment students.


March 17th, 2011
7:28 pm

Thank you Yankee Prof! I’m tired of those comparing schools like GaTech to other four year schools. I’ve met plenty of Tech grads who couldn’t talk their way out of a paper bag. Smarts, maybe, but common sense? That’s another discussion!

Come on Son

March 17th, 2011
9:03 pm

The movie A Race to Nowhere highlights how simple all this is and does not mean a hill of beans if a kid does not have common sense.

not shocked

March 17th, 2011
9:24 pm

In the words of the Eagles….”Get Over It”!!


March 17th, 2011
9:53 pm

Personally, I don’t really value the opinion of someone who admittedly took the easy way out by (as another poster said) gaming the system. News flash – I DO care if I get a 90 or 100. In many of my high level science and graduate courses, I ended up with over a 100 average because I did extra credit even when I made high grades on exams etc. If she were much of a perfectionist then it would matter to her as well.

The only people who do really well at the really good schools are the people who are naturally gifted (actually gifted not in a program because their parents want it) and/or the ones who do care if they get a 100 or a 90. It sounds like the system was fine when it worked in her favor, but now it is a problem. Based on her letter, they should revoke her honor and give it to #2.

Troubled Student

March 17th, 2011
11:14 pm

I have seen any comment on how much harder the AP courses are compared to Joint Enrolment courses and how even top students would find it nearly impossible to get a top grade in an AP class. The AP Calculus class I attended at Pope HS was easy for my. Frequently I found that helping other students as the only time outside of class byond reading the chapter required was more than I required to excel in the class. Also the same course I took at SPSU would have been more difficult had I not already taken calculus in HS. Also the AP Physics course was the same difficulty. A student capable of going to an ivy league school should be more than capable of getting a 99 or 100 in an AP class that even only 2% of the students attend. That is a much higher percentage than go to the ivy league.

As far as joint enrollment studnets cheating the system. The point of school is not to be the top of your class but to have the best education. If the title of valedictorian is the most important thing to a student they must jump through the hoops presented to them just like every step needed for the top title elsewhere. Playng the game is necesary for the ivy league and attending the ivy league is part of playing the game. Regretfully having a name is more important than capability. A few exceptions exist but often being claim legacy or donate a large sum of money gets you into a better school. Also any school that is renowned enough to select only valedictorians should be capable of looking beyond the ranking and take the raw data to find the best students.


March 18th, 2011
1:34 am

Has anyone even thought about what classes this girl is taking? She started college as a junior in high school, so she must be into upper level classes/starting major classes now. The AP classes are not on the same level as upper level and major classes. I’ve been told by mutual friends she is doing undergraduate research as well. Maybe core classes can be easy, but she is past that by now, and still maintaining a high GPA (apparently).


March 18th, 2011
8:50 am

Texas Pete, this is a story because the girl she beat out for Valedictorian and her parents and friends are whining, stomping, and complaining that it isn’t fair that she get’s counted because she hasn’t physically attended classes, although the girl obviously has met the criteria set out by the local board.

I feel bad for the girl joint enrolled. She went above and beyond and took her education seriously and didn’t ask for anything. For some odd reason her grade information became public(I smell a lawsuit) to the other girl and her family and now they are taking it out on the wrong people. Maybe there should be changes, but that is up to the Cherokee County BOE (who in my humble opinion, couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time). Too late in the game to change the rules and if you allow co-valedictorians then that just shows how gullible the board really is. Change it for future years and let the results stand. It will teach the odd girl out a lesson how real life isn’t fair and might teach her parents a little self respect as well. Thank god I got my family out of Cherokee County several years ago.

Rural High School Teacher

March 18th, 2011
1:31 pm

Question: Our rising seniors are being required to take an AP Math course next year because they have been in Accelerated Math for three years – How can this be fair or legal? Anyone know of an easy-to-find state reg. that would stop this local policy?

Our students say that they might as well dual-enroll at our local community college and get 2 full math credits – one each semester as to take one AP Math for the entire year at the high school – How are other high schools handling this issue?

Also, our local policy requires some “seat time” to be considered as valedictrian – Thanks.


March 18th, 2011
1:47 pm


On behalf of Cherokee County, we’re glad you moved as well.