On May 11, the administration announced in an email to teachers a new policy that changes the way students enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) classes take final exams. According to Vice Principal of Academics Gary Scholl, all students taking AP courses will be required to take a final exam in addition to taking the AP exam if they have a final grade of 85 or below.
AP classes are intended to be at the same level of difficulty as a college-level course, and at the end of the year, students across the country take AP exams to prove that they have mastered the material. Depending on how well students do on an exam, some colleges will accept the test score for a college credit.
Currently, students who take an AP class and then take the AP exam are not required to take a final exam at the end of the school year. However, the new policy will change this. Students who forgo taking the AP exam will have to take a final exam created by their teacher regardless of their grade.
The administration wants to prevent students from taking AP exams just to avoid taking an exam that will negatively affect their grade and hopes that this new rule will keep students focused. “We have students that were signing up for AP Exams with no intent on studying and weren’t doing well in the course […] We want them to be serious about their work until the last week of school,” Scholl said.
Some students, like sophomore Nicole Kanaras, think the rule will prevent people from signing up for AP classes. “People just won’t take APs, because who wants to take two exams instead of one. If I was taking an AP history course next year I might reconsider [taking] it,” Kanaras said.
Students in honors-level classes who take AP exams will be exempt from this rule. Any student in an Honors level class who takes an AP exam will be exempted from taking that class’s exam. Many honors-level students take advantage of this rule now.
For example, almost forty students enrolled in Honors English 3 took the AP Language and Composition exam. “I took [the AP Language and Composition exam] because it would get me out of taking my [English exam] and because it gave me a chance to get some college credit,” junior Mary Doud, who takes Honors English 3, said.
AP students, such as junior Emily Stancliff, have expressed dislike for the new policy’s effect on AP students and its lack of effect on Honors students. “The whole point of the AP class is to get you ready for the AP test. Why should you be forced to take another exam when the whole focus of the AP course is to prepare you for the test?” Stancliff said.
Grace Mottley is a News Editor and Erin McCloskey is a Copy Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.