School rallies to handle College Board’s AP exam invalidation

May 19, 2017 — by Amith Galivanche and Roland Shen

With the AP exam cycle just over, the atmosphere on campus May 12 was relaxed. Students who had taken AP classes and the corresponding AP exams were allowed the chance to let their guard down after a school year of intense studying — or so they thought. 

During sixth period, the 291 students who had taken the Chemistry, Environmental Science, Computer Science, Physics 1, Physics 2, Psychology and Spanish Language AP tests were called out of class and asked to go to the McAfee Center. Once there, they learned their scores on those exams had been invalidated by the College Board due to “seating irregularities.”

Apparently based on a photo an anonymous person had set to the organization of tables involved in the testing, College Board officials determined some students taking those tests had been not been sitting in a secure enough arrangement. These students were spaced 4 feet apart with dividers instead of the required 5-foot space without dividers. College Board officials said it didn’t matter that a large barrier was placed between students at each table.

Junior Rahul Kumar has to retake four tests as a result of the invalidations.

“I was annoyed and I knew I was going to have to do a lot more work to study again,” Kumar said. “I think it falls on both the school and College Board because the school should have followed the College Board’s rules, but to make a decision on something so small is also unfair.”

Junior Sarah Deng said that because of the surprising nature of the fiasco, she has become less inclined to study for her retake exams, which are taking place from May 18-26.

“I was just so mad that I was almost crying; those are my hardest APs,” Deng said. “I’m mad because I don’t want to study more; I almost want to protest by just not taking them but I have to.”

Spanish teacher Arnaldo Rodriguex, whose AP Spanish Language class is among those that need to retake their test, says that the mishap has disrupted his typical end-of-year schedule for AP Spanish.

“Although not every kid in the class took the AP, starting today [May 16th], we changed the program,” Rodriguex said. “They were working on a final project but that’s out of the question, so we’re working in groups revising sections of the AP, and I’m there to guide them of course, but it’s the student’s responsibility to make sure they take the time to review.”

While Rodriguex thinks that the situation is unfair, he believes the best thing students can do at this point is to find a way to effectively handle it.

“These things happen, and our students are resilient,” Rodriguex said. “And that’s part of growing up, facing obstacles like this. And whose fault it is — that doesn’t matter at this point — what matters is that we collectively help each other get through it and that’s the best thing to do in a crisis.”

 

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