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Madisyn Kerby

May 6, 2015
Seventh Draft
Editorial
4.2
AP Testing
For the average student, the month of May is the realization of just how close summer
vacation is and slacking off is the only homework. However, for those finishing the year with AP
tests, it is a time for cramming and study-filled sleepless nights.
For every rigorous AP class in existence nationally, there is an equally rigorous test on it
at the end of the year. By exploring the AP Student website, one can make the observation that
students have the option to take the AP test in order to get college credit for it. According to this
website, the purpose of the test is to make sure the student taking the test has a good enough
grasp on the college level course they just took while still attending high school.
As stated on the AP student website, the AP test is based on a grading scale of one to five.
A student may pass and get college credit if they get a score of three or higher. If not, the student
does not get college credit and they no longer reap the benefits of taking an AP course, which
includes saving money and time by being excused from taking a general education college class.
Passing the AP test would be a major accomplishment for any student who chose to take
the test. It makes complete sense to have a system where you either pass or fail the test in order
to help students understand the rigor of college courses. This aspect of AP testing is very well
thought out and just. However, there are many aspects of the AP test that are inefficient and
unfair.
One example of inconsistencies is colleges have different minimum scores that they
accept, even though the AP Board lists three as passing. According to the CollegeBoard website,

the University of Michigan accepts only a minimum of four for AP Calculus BC and a minimum
of five for AP Physics C: Mechanics.
The unjust part of accepting minimum scores on the AP exam is that students are told that
getting a three is what you must get in order to pass the exam. Having a minimum acceptance
score makes logical sense for tests such as the ACT and SAT because there is no passing or
failing either of those standardized tests.
It is possible, however, to pass or fail the AP test. With that being said, colleges should
not have minimum acceptance score as far as AP tests. If a student passes the test, they get credit,
if not they do not pass, they do not get credit. The standards should not vary for every college.
AP courses are essentially a college level course taken in high school. Because of that,
there is a lot of information that must be taught in a certain amount of time.
According to the CollegeBoard website, AP classes are where students are able to dig
deeper into subjects than ever before. More information is taught in these classes, too.
The AP test is a massive test that covers virtually all of the information crammed into
about a nine months. As stated on the AP student website, AP tests occur during the school day
and span over four hours for each test.
Since a nine month course is roughly crammed into a four-hour exam, AP tests are an
extremely inefficient way to judge a students understanding of that course. Making a student
prove their knowledge of a full-year class in four hours does not seem a reliable or fair standard
of judgement. It is impossible for this to be an effective way to test a students knowledge of a
whole class. The test cannot be that greatly put together than it can truthfully display how well a
student knows their facts.

Another flaw in the idea of AP testing is that students cannot retake the test. The
nationwide ACT test, however, can be taken up to 12 times according to the ACT Student
website.
Taking a test more than once can help students because it gives them the chance to
improve their study habits. Retaking the test also gives them the opportunity to get the higher
score they are aiming for. The fact that AP tests can only be taken once is ridiculously unfair to
students.
Students do not know what to expect on the AP test. For this reason, students should have
the liberty to retake the AP test a limited amount of times if they please in order to get the score
they really want. It would be much more beneficial to the student if they had the opportunity to
try again on the AP test. According to the StudyPoints website, taking standardized tests at least
two times can benefit test-takers greatly.
What many people often fail to remember is that colleges are just big business. Tuition,
room and board, supplies and food are just a few things that colleges charge students obscene
amounts of money for.
According to Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus at USAToday online, only 28 percent
of college tuition goes to paying for education, while the rest is spent mainly on athletics, payroll
and the construction of campus buildings. Colleges would not be around if it was not for state
funding and college tuition.
When a student finds his or her find mailbox brimming over with college mail, it is a
prime example of colleges trying to sell their business and get students to spend thousands of
dollars at their university. AP tests are designed the way they are so that colleges do not miss out

on the money they so desperately desire. It can be argued this is proven by the fact that college
tuition goes up every single school year.
According to the CollegeBoard website, in the past 30 years, the average cost of tuition at
a four-year university has risen by 146 percent. This statistic shows that colleges are all about
getting more and more money which is why universities do not care about accepting AP credits
as much as they should care about them.
It can be tough to accept a failing grade on the AP test, but what students must realize is
that it is what it is. It is a simple test used solely to judge basic knowledge of a college course
subject taken in high school. The test does not define who a student is, and it most definitely
does not determine whether or not a student is college material.