Sunday, February 15, 2009

Let's Start a Discussion:
Require the AP Psychology Exam or not?

Should students in an AP Psychology course be required to take the AP Psychology Exam? Why or why not?

Should students who decide not to take the AP Psychology Exam have their transcripts changed from taking "AP Psychology" to "Psychology"? Why or why not?

Please complete the survey below and express your opinions in the comments section.

N=79 as of 01/27/12


Emily said...

Since students at our school are required to pay a portion of the exam fees, I think it would be difficult to require them to take the test. It would be one thing if there were only a few people in the class, but currently our program has roughly 120 students per year.

I try to encourage all students to take the exam, but there are some who do choose not to take it. However, since they have completed all the work that the other students have, it would seem cruel to change their transcripts. This is especially true in my school as we have AP Psychology for 2nd and 3rd quarters on block scheduling and are finished with the class over a month before the test anyway.

Steve said...

In my system students may earn 2 extra quality points for their GPA (so an A is worth 6, B is 5, etc.) by taking an AP class -- but only if they take the test. Otherwise, they get to keep the AP Psychology name on their transcript but they get the normal amount of points. A colleague calls it "buying GPA" for students who don't care about how they do on the test but want to get the extra points. For students who are eligible for free and reduced lunch the exams are being paid for this year for any of those students who want to take them.

Also, in my old school taking the AP Psych exam was the norm, but in my new I'm guessing it isn't -- the school that my school split off from had a 13% passing rate on all APs and relatively few kids taking it.

Rebecca said...

We encourage students to take the exam by giving a GPA bump if they score above a 2. So if a student receives an A and a 5, they get a 5.0 for the course. If they do not take the exam or score below a 3 (or get a grade below a C) they get no bump. This really has no effect since we do not rank students, and colleges re-calculate GPA, but it makes students and families feel better.

Cindy said...

Our district's policy is that students receive a weighted grade for an AP course (5-point scale) UNLESS they fail to take the test. I don't know how they handle that on the transcript. Like Steve, my students receive F/R Lunch and therefore get a reduced rate for the AP exam (I think it was $8 last year), so everyone takes it.

Cindy said...

I just re-read the question and I have something to say about the "should" part.

As an AVID teacher, I feel strongly that students should be required to take the exam. There's always the chance that they will pass it, which will save them time and money in college. The exam is part of the course, and just like students in my Honors American Lit. course are required to take the district exam at the end, this is the culmination of their study. Whether or not they pass, it's a good experience and possibly a huge benefit to them.

Dan Sitter said...

I think that it should be entirely up to the student to take the exam. We do not require the exam to be taken, we ENCOURAGE them, but not require. At this point in a student's education, they should be responsible for directing, with guidance, their own educational goals. We have students who are not going on to college but still like the challenge of the course. Any limits on encouraging intellectual challenge is, in my opinion, a disservice to students. If a student takes the exam because they want to, great. I have never found forcing a student to do anything has a very positive outcome.

Todd said...

It is required of all AP courses at my school. Of course it should be required. I would have 50-75% of my students (especially seniors) quitting on me in March of every year if it weren't! In all seriousness, it is an essential component of an AP course and I do not believe that you are truly taking an AP course unless you are also preparing to take the exam.