AP Exam Scores Challenged

After students received their May 2020 Advanced Placement (AP) scores in mid-July 2020, many were distressed to earn scores less than expected, and now, with their parents’ support, are appealing their scores. Student’s disappointment about their scores simply compounds an existing dismay, after enduring the multitude of technical issues during the administration of the May exams, as well as the changed format of the AP exams, which we discussed An Open Letter to The College Board About Advanced Placement Tests and Advanced Placement (AP) Outrage and AP Adversity.

The basis of the appeal of an AP exam score is The College Board‘s newly crafted (re)scoring policy for the 2019-20 AP exams is a response to the current COVID-induced disruption to education and the unorthodox home administration of the exams:

Because creating a good testing environment at home is a challenge for some students, the exam is much shorter this year.

AP teachers will have the chance to review students’ scores and exam responses this summer. If a student doesn’t receive a score of 3 or higher, and the teacher feels the exam didn’t appropriately measure the student’s qualification for college credit, the teacher will be able to engage with the AP Program’s college faculty partners to review and confirm the score, ensuring it’s fair and appropriate.

AP teachers can find more details by logging in to AP Score Reports for Educators.

The College Board

In addition, students must request a review of their test answers from their teachers, and given the extended summer break, contacting teachers, who’ve been at home since mid-March, is even more complex, and some may be unavailable to review the test answers.

What The College Board overlooks in passing the responsibility for rescoring to teachers, and teachers possibly refusing to rescore the tests, are complex reasons students take AP classes in the first place. Some students seek to earn the college credits from an exam score (typically a score of 3 or higher on the 5 point scale merits students college credits), exempting them from a general education requirement, so they can take other more interesting classes related to their academic major. Others seek college credits to reduce the expense of earning a college degree, by graduating early. 

Yet other students seek the GPA boost of the weighted academic grades automatically awarded for an AP class, in order to strengthen the competitiveness of their college applications. Now, with many high schools having implemented Pass/No Pass-style grades for Spring 2020, including AP courses, essentially denying the weighting of the AP course grade and diluting their academic performance, many students are banking on the AP score itself to differentiate their academic acumen from their peers. 

As the COVID-induced disruption continues to be a roller coaster of uncertainty in relation to the college admissions process and K-12 education, parents and students, more than ever, need credible, timely information and responsiveness from the very educational institutions they’ve believed will help them achieve their educational goals. Without swift and decisive action, as well as consistent and fair application of policy, the risk is that the trust between families and educational institutions, like The College Board, could erode further, possibly creating an irreparable schism that may further lead to a decline in sentiment regarding the value of college

To learn more about how Jill and other experts at Creative Marbles Consultancy, a full-service educational advisory, help families resolve complex college admissions and educational concerns, see us at creativemarbles.com

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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