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AP Class Exam
AP Students Lose Helpful Perk
Michael Whalen ‘14
Homework and long-term assignments are easily the bane of all students’ existence; the robbery of precious sleep that homework steals from a hard-working student is simply unforgiveable. This proves especially true for students in advanced placement (AP) courses, which are actually equivalent to a semester in college; students can even earn college credits for these classes if they score high enough on the AP exam. These hardworking AP students have had exemption from the final exam by taking the AP exam. But this perk is over. This year, only AP students who earn an A all four marking periods will be exempt from the final.
AP Exam vs. Final Exam
Business teacher Mrs. Wolff explains, “One of the main differences is that the AP exam is a little over two hours, a final exam for the course would be no more than an hour and a half, at most. The structure is different; the final I put together may resemble an AP exam but it is not a mirror image. The college-board constructs the AP exam.” According to Mrs. Wolff, the content of the tests are also the same.
So let’s look at what is given; the AP exam is longer, constructed by the college-board, costs money, reviews the content of the course, and could earn a student college credits. A regular final is worth 10% of a student’s final grade, constructed by the teacher, free, and reviews the content of the course. So one may ask, “Isn’t it common sense to take one exam; after-all they’re both tests on the same thing?”
This is the dilemma AP students must now face. In order to be exempt from a regular final exam at Monmouth Regional, a student must earn A’s all four marking-periods. However, in the 2011-2012 school year, students who took AP classes and the AP exam for that class, were exempt from taking the final, regardless of their marking period grades.
Principal Mr. Teeple explains, “The original change went into effect 2011-2012. The purpose was to get more students to take the AP exam; served as an incentive – take the AP exam instead of final exam. After a one-year trial period, we discovered that kids were just taking the AP exam to not take the final. They were not actively preparing for success. Therefore, this defeated the purpose, so we stopped.”
Why should students who actually strive for success be pulled down with lazy students? Why should students who test themselves with the rigor of an AP course be so chained to the pressure of having to prepare for, not one, but TWO exams? Why should a serious student who earns one B+ as a marking period grade now have to suffer the consequence brought onto them by a less determined student?
Seniors experienced both sides of the spectrum; the exemption policy and now the removal of it. Senior Michael Ronan says, “You put in the effort the whole year, you push yourself farther so you can be prepared for that date… it’s ridiculous you have to take two exams for the same class.”
Junior Thomas Battaglia, who is enrolled in six AP courses, explains, “The way I see it, students who truly belong in AP level classes should not have to worry about finals. The problem comes when students who do not belong in AP classes and enroll in them anyway.”
In regards to who made the decision on this harsh change of rules, Mr. Teeple said, “Decisions regarding testing, instruction, and curriculum are made either at a Principal’s Cabinet or Administrative Council meeting.”
Isn’t it lovely to know that students weren’t involved in a decision regarding their performance? Or perhaps it is the knowledge which is lovely – the knowledge that students do not have a voice.
Then again, is it the lack of representation in a decision regarding a student’s curriculum which should frustrate him/her, or should it be the inability of the school, which seeks so much from its students, to communicate a major change in policy to the students?
According to Mr. Teeple, “Supervisors inform the teachers who share it with students.” This telephone-game, however, did not work out so well. In fact, there are many students who are still unaware of the change in policy.
Junior Cassidy Murphy, a student in AP Environmental Science, explains how she was informed of the new policy, “Through this interview.”
Not only have AP student’s lost a highly persuasive perk regarding their AP exams, they may have lost a degree of faithfulness in the school.
What is the new policy regarding the exemption from finals in AP courses? Why was the old policy changed?
“Original change went into effect 2011-2012. Purpose was to get more students to take the AP exam. Served as an incentive – take the AP exam instead of final exam. After a one-year trial period, we discovered that kids were just taking the AP exam to not take the final. They were not actively preparing for success. Defeated the purpose so we stopped.” – Mr. Teeple (School Principal)
Who was involved in the decision making process?
“ Decisions regarding testing, instruction, curriculum are made either at a Principal’s Cabinet or Administrative Council Meeting.” – Mr. Teeple (School Principal)
When was the decision made to change the policy?
“ It was at the end of the summer after we received the AP scores.” – Mr. Teeple (School Principal)
How did you reach out to the students so they were notified of such changes in policy?
“ Supervisors inform the teachers who share it with students. Students can still be exempt from the final with grades.” – Mr. Teeple (School Principal)
How did you hear about the new change in policy?
“Through this interview.” – Cassidy Murphy (Junior)
What is your opinion on the new policy?
“The way I see it, students who truly belong in AP level classes should not have to worry about finals. The problem comes when students who do not belong in AP classes enroll in them anyway.” – Thomas Battaglia
What is the difference between an AP exam and a regular course final?
“One of the main differences is the AP exam is a little of 2 hours a final exam for the course would be no more than an hour and a half at most. The structure is different; the final I put together may resemble an AP exam but it is not a mirror image. The college board constructs the AP exam. The content may be a little bit different in that [for AP Economics] the content within the class will include all the theory of the course as wll the AP exam whereas the class final will include some current event problems to analyze using the theory; the AP exam is strictly theory.” – Mrs. Wolff (Financial Literacy Teacher)
Having seen both sides of the policy, which do you believe is better?
“I do believe that if you take the AP Exam you deserve to be exempt from the final exam. You put in the effort the whole year, you push yourself farther so you can be prepared for that date… it’s ridiculous you have to take two exams for the same class.” – Michael Ronan (Senior)
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