Sad tales of AP tests gone wrong

Oct 14, 2013 by

Jay_MathewsBy Jay Mathews – With this region’s high concentration of Advanced Placement tests, AP stress, scores and credit are hot topics. Much less is heard about Patricia Palmer Dulman’s particular AP nightmare. Her son had to retake two tests at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington County because of administrative errors.

I discovered the complications of AP testing 30 years ago while investigating the retesting of 12 calculus students in East Los Angeles. The pain such moments cause hit me again this summer when, while visiting the San Francisco Peninsula, news broke of 286 students at Mills High School in Millbrae, Calif., being told they had to take their AP tests again. The school had used round tables, ignoring the sacred College Board rule (unknown to me but distributed to schools and students) that test-takers must not face or be too close to each other.

Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses are the most challenging assignments in most U.S. high schools. The AP exams, written and graded by outside experts including college faculty, are usually three hours long and contain several essay questions. They are much tougher than typical high school course finals. It is exasperating to be told you have to do it again because of someone else’s mistake.

Dulman’s son did not get his AP English retest results until last week. “We got a call in mid-August saying half his test was lost by either the school or the College Board; no one will say,” she said. Two years ago, she said, “the proctor gave too much time on an AP government test in May, the test was declared invalid in September, and he retook it in October, and he was not as well-prepared five months after the course ended.”

via Sad tales of AP tests gone wrong – The Washington Post.

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