Ben Shofet Business Manager
Every single year around this time, students stress over their upcoming AP tests. Students are brought up to believe that without AP classes on their transcript, they won’t be viewed as competitive candidates for the college of their choice. According to College Counselor Ah Young Chi, they are absolutely correct.
“The likelihood of you being a competitive candidate for college admissions without AP classes are slim. So what I’m saying is if you want a good chance at getting into a selective college, then you need to take AP classes and do well,” Chi said.
But regardless of how necessary AP classes and tests have become, there are still many flaws in the program that need to addressed and corrected.
The way the AP exams are scored and curved needs to be reformed. Take AP European History, for example: in 2015, 60 percent of the students who are scoring anywhere between 50 and 65 percent on the multiple choice portion of the test has over a 90 percent chance to score a 3 or higher.
In no other academic setting is it acceptable for a student to receive a score of a D or an F and pass the class. Being able to score a 50 to 65 percent on a college level test is an indicator that a student is in fact not ready for a college level course and not the other way around. If a student were to score a D or an F on their final exam in any course, regardless if it were college or high school, it would not be acceptable.
Either there needs to be a reform in the AP tests scoring system or College Board and colleges alike must stop recognizing a 3 as a passing score. Students scoring in that range should not be given credit for their score. According to Chi, nearly all Cal States grant college credit for students who receive a minimum score of a 3 on their exams. That needs to change.
Many college professors are also calling for reforms in the AP program, according to Chi.
“Even though a college could accept AP credit, there are a lot of college faculty that don’t support it. There are a lot of students coming in with AP credit and getting out of their classes and the faculty know [that] what they teach can be so different from what they actually say they learned through their AP exam,” Chi said.
Although AP credits do allow some students to finish college a semester or two earlier, the way that AP classes are taught and the way college courses are taught are very different.
“The AP course just really falls short,” National Association of Scholars Public Affairs Director Glenn Ricketts said, in an interview with Heather Kays for The American Spectator. “We think students are going to come away with a shallow understanding of these issues.”
Also, AP classes have been known to cause a large amount of stress on high schoolers.
“Frankly, many high-achieving high school students are really stressed out. They have a lot to do between extracurricular activities and homework and also trying to get the sleep they need. They need to be prepared for what an AP course involves. The extra tests, extra homework, on top of an already demanding schedule, can be brutal,” Denise Pope, a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, said in an interview with Stanford News.
In Beverly alone there are many cases of students taking AP classes and coming to regret their decision, due to the amount of stress AP classes have caused them. Senior Josh Khalili has taken a total of 9 AP’s in his high school career and has used one word to classify his experience, “regret”.
“I regret taking this many AP courses since most of them I’m not even interested in, have tons of work, and am only doing this for college,” Khalili said.
A standardized nationwide test is important, for it sets a standard across the nation. The College Board must reform their AP program. In addition, universities across the nation need to begin placing less of an emphasis on the rigor of a student’s classes and more of an emphasis on their performance in non-AP classes. The AP courses and exams are not an exact representation of what a true college level course is like, so it is time that the educational institutions in this country treat it that way.