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STAFF EDITORIAL: Don’t forget that AP testing is a choice

Standardized+tests+provide+information+to+colleges%2C+but+every+students%27+path+is+different+and+their+choices+will+be+too.
Standardized tests provide information to colleges, but every students' path is different and their choices will be too.

Standardized tests provide information to colleges, but every students' path is different and their choices will be too.

Melissa Nie

Melissa Nie

Standardized tests provide information to colleges, but every students' path is different and their choices will be too.

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Rounds of standardized testing descend upon students in May.  This year, approximately 200 AP tests will be proctored to students in grades 9-12 at SPA. While teachers and college counselors recognize the tight schedule and provide ample opportunities for students to prepare, it often feels like all that is valued of a student is their scores. It’s important to remember that every student has a choice about how involved they want to be in this testing craze.

For those who choose to take an exam (or two or three), which tests to take can be a challenging decision.  An AP Exam, is a college-level test designed to determine college credit or course placement. Unlike the ACT and SAT, AP Tests are not essential college admissions tests, since schools do not require that students take them. The AP’s cover a wide range of subjects, everything from Chinese to World History to Chemistry. Students can choose to take more than one or opt out of them altogether. Of the more than 15 million students enrolled in high school in the US, the College Board reports that a little over 2.6 million students took an AP exam in 2016, a rough percentage of just under 20% of students nationwide.

For many students they serve as a test to demonstrate knowledge and prove high expertise in a certain subject. For others, they’re overwhelming and confusing, as college courses seem ages away.”

For many students they serve as a test to demonstrate knowledge and prove high expertise in a certain subject. For others, they’re overwhelming and confusing, as college courses seem ages away.

If you test, don’t talk about the appalling number of tests coming up. Individuals signed themselves up, so they should be the only one concerned with the work they have ahead. Incessant discussion of APs can unnerve and agitate students not taking them. Also, for individuals that commonly interact with people scheduled to take the AP, it may feel that those who choose to take the tests are forcing their voluntary decision on others. While it certainly is a good choice to complete the tests in an attempt to do well, they shouldn’t feel obligatory for everyone. AP evaluation works well for some people, others not so much, but the stress around them can be reduced if students view them as more as a personal evaluation and not an in-school competition.

If a student puts in a lot of work and scores highly, good for them, but keep scores private. Oftentimes score sharing raises stress levels, and — honestly — there’s nothing that can be done about taking or retaking an AP test until next year.  

Increase consideration of others and focus less on the APs as assumed mandatory tests. The mood around school will improve and allow students who are testing to perform as outstanding as possible, while keeping the spring stress levels low for those who choose not to test.

 

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STAFF EDITORIAL: Don’t forget that AP testing is a choice