What You Didn’t Know About AP Testing

What You Didn't Know About AP Testing

by Rachel Rice

Advanced placement exams is a phrase that induces strain and anxiety in students. The very idea makes students practically double over in fear thinking the test is rigged for failure. They mull over the fact that only 57.9% of students tested last year received a passing score. What AP students here at Oakdale High School tend to overlook is that our teachers are determined to lead us on the path to success, and we have the statistics to prove it (courtesy of Mr. Mike Gough). Not only does OHS have statistics on its side, but it also has teachers who  aid students every step of the way.

“As a school our pass rates and our mean AP score were the highest in the county,” said AP Calculus teacher Mr. Gough of his exam last year.

This is not only true of AP Calculus but also of AP Chemistry, where the national average was 2.62 and the global average was 2.66, but the OHS average was a whopping 3.67! Not only that, but also both the national and global passing percentages were 55% while the OHS score was 95.5%, making for a stark contrast.

“I want them to meet or beat last year’s score,” confidently asserted AP Chem Teacher Ms. Suzanne Adams when asked about her goal for her students.

Sixteen AP tests were offered here last year, and 16 will be offered again this year. Two hundred and eighty three students took 440 exams last year, meaning that many students took multiple tests. Ninety percent of these students scored a 3 or higher, and the runner up was a good deal behind us according to assistant principal and AP Test Coordinator Mr. Bill Caulfeild.

“I’m double majoring in college, so I wanted to get as many entry level classes completed as I can,” said OHS Senior and experienced exam taker, Caroline Holmes, when asked about why she decided to test.

This is an excellent reason to test, but there are many others, like the cheaper cost compared to that of a college class, challenging yourself, and knowing what to expect in a college classroom.

“Really my goal is for every student to really stretch themselves and improve. I want everyone to compare themselves to who they were when they first entered the class and see their strides that way,” AP Literature and Composition Teacher Ms. Nicole Moravy commented on her aspirations regarding testing this year.

Each test is comprised of both multiple choice and free response questions (FRQ’s). The multiple choice sections are larger, but the FRQ’s are typically more weighty individually, so take note of that when practicing for the exam. The Spanish exam is a little different and has two speaking parts, a simulated conversation, a 2 minute oral presentation, and a written email in addition to the standard multiple choice. The art exam is unique as well in that students choose their 5 best pieces for a portfolio and submit them to be judged by concentration, breath section and quality (information courtesy of Mr. Bingman).   

“I would have them speak and hear Spanish as much as possible” said AP Spanish Teacher Ms. Bethany Brown when asked about her advice for students taking the spanish exam. She also said that her students could watch TV in Spanish with subtitles and/or listen to Spanish music in order to prepare.

“I want them to have the experience of taking the test,” AP Psychology Teacher Ms. Kate Ehrlich echoed the thoughts of other AP teachers on test scores.

 

AP data