Escalante is Packer’s hero, though they never met before Escalante’s death in 2010.Their only similarities — other than devotion to AP — are that both spent their early years in lakeside towns on mountain plateaus (Escalante’s Bolivian hometown, Achacachi, is much higher than Provo, Utah) and were the sons of educators who had little money.
“When I started as head of AP in 2003, one in 10 kids in AP classrooms were low-income,” he says. The portion of low-income test takers increased from 9 percent to 22 percent.
Often, the addition of so many impoverished participants causes average standardized test scores to drop, but the average AP score has remained fairly stable and was higher in 2018 than it was a decade ago, when more than 1 million fewer students took the tests.
Packer got a 3 on that AP European history test he finally took. A 5 is the equivalent of a strong college A, based on how volunteer college students perform on the AP compared with their college intro course grade.
A 4 is a strong college B, 3 a strong college C, 2 a D, and 1 an F.) By senior year he was cruising. As he approached graduation — he would be valedictorian — he had another thrill, courtesy of Warner Bros.
And earlier this year, seven Washington-area prep schools said they would be eliminating AP courses from their curriculums.
Some might see these moves as a threat to AP’s foothold, but so far they’ve had little effect on the program’s continuing growth.He has a longtime girlfriend but has never married and has no children, although he does have 23 nieces and nephews.He is an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving as Sunday school teacher at his congregation in Manhattan.Packer had studied diligently in that AP course, but the 16-year-old knew that with a modest income and nine children, his parents couldn’t afford the test fee of . The principal told his mother that if he got a good score on the test, he would earn credit for that course in college.Packer’s mother remembered disliking the huge freshman classes she’d taken at Brigham Young University, with no meaningful contact with professors.They lived in a one-story house in Provo with a master bedroom and two other bedrooms stuffed with bunk beds. The nine siblings in birth order were Trevor, Cam, Chip, Spencer, Matt, Tiffany, TJ, Shalayne and Ce Lisa.The family qualified for the federal free school lunch program, but after trying it for a few weeks, Packer’s parents decided that they didn’t want to take government handouts. Packer remembers how he and his rough-and-tumble brothers cried their eyes out during the final chapters of Wilson Rawls’s “Where the Red Fern Grows” while sitting on the floor between their bunk beds.Packer grew up in a family that took religion seriously.His father, Rand, worked for the Church Educational System of the Mormon Church.But some educators at private institutions think that a program this popular can’t be right for their students.In 2013, Dartmouth College announced that it would no longer give incoming students credit toward graduation for high school AP courses.