The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

AP 5s should give a 5.0 GPA

AP exams are the finals for AP courses, but don’t give any weight in student grades. This needs to change.
This illustration shows that students may have scored very well on their standardized tests, but perhaps not as well on their courses due to the teacher being very harsh or student learning and teacher teaching styles clashing. And thus we can have students with very low grades but also score very high on APs. Giving students the chance to truly show what they know on a standardized test can really benefit them, helping them get the grade and education that they deserve and are capable of attaining

A majority of people at Woodbridge High have taken at least one AP course in their lives oftentimes because they’re touted as a way for students to signal to colleges that they’re ready. But they’re not; colleges give the most weight to grades, not AP scores. And so, we ought to give a boost to GPA if students are able to score well on their AP exam.

“Students who take AP courses send a signal to colleges that they’re serious about their education and that they’re willing to challenge themselves with rigorous coursework,” says the College Board.

But as well as these intentions are, the fact remains that the majority of colleges do not give as much weight to AP exams. “AP scores actually do not matter that much, other than helping admissions committees determine the difficulty level of your high school’s AP courses and how you met that challenge. Admissions committees also look at other factors…to determine the rigor of your courses,” says Merishimer, a writer for CollegeVine. Furthermore, as Merishimer points out later, “you do not even have to report your AP scores — they are not required on almost all applications.” What AP exams really do is almost nothing, most colleges often don’t even require them for their application decision.

So then what are colleges looking at? “Earning good grades is the most critical factor for college applications,” says ASVAB, a career exploration program. And so the problem here is that colleges strongly emphasize good grades and rigor, and while AP courses offer that rigor, they do not allow students to use what is essentially their final exam to improve their grade.

Story continues below advertisement

So the question remains, what do we do with AP exams? AP exam scores are often expensive for economically challenged students and to make matters worse, these exams are scored and can have a huge impact on your life. Thankfully, the College Board proposes a potential solution by reducing the cost of these exams.

“College Board provides a $36 fee reduction per AP Exam for eligible students with financial need. Schools are expected to forgo their $9 rebate for these students, resulting in a cost of $53 per exam,” says the College Board.

Although the College Board almost halves the cost, there are other problems revolving around taking an AP course. “Twenty-six percent of survey respondents identified the ability to take a more rigorous course as a reason for taking AP classes,” says Harbinger.

Taking more rigorous classes can really affect a student’s stress levels as these classes require more time, effort, and critical thinking. And we are detracting from the value of these students’ work as we are not rewarding them with a grade, only just a near meaningless number value. Giving students a second chance to achieve their goals motivates them.

Lastly, a major issue many people have with this concept of assigning a grade is the fact that students won’t try in the course if they could simply bring it back up with the AP exam. English teacher Shan Wu said, “Students might not necessarily work to their maximum potential during the course and just hope or rely on one test day to accommodate that.”

Furthermore, AP Human Geography teacher Karen Briner said, “the grade is weighted already, so that’s already working in the student’s favor. It’s rewarding that risk taking of going out there and trying; and to have to make you wait until July 8th… It just seems like an impossibility.”

However, students have differing opinions. “If [the exam] was considered for a grade itself, like in terms of like affecting your grade, if you do bad, I would be more stressed, but if it was only a thing where if you do good, it boosts your grade, but if you do bad, it doesn’t like apply to your grade, then yeah, I wouldn’t really be stressed,” said David Han, a sophomore at Woodbridge.

In all, Briner said, “the bottom line is, you know, on a personal level, it’s me, I just look at priorities… trying to keep that balance is so important.” Keeping stress levels low is a priority for everyone. And a way to do this is to give students that second chance.

This thus gives students a bigger incentive to try harder. “Some people by the end of the year may have a grade that’s barely on the verge of an A. Or barely on the verge of a B or C. So, if the AP test is like their last resort or last chance, they would be way more incentivized and motivated to study,” says Han.

It doesn’t detract from students who simply want a weighted GPA and do not take the test as it’s simply a boost, it doesn’t hurt. The fact remains that students should gain an A when scoring a 5. Considering it is the highest score you could reach on the AP exams, the students who score a 5 should be awarded with an A that affects their grade. They’ve shown that they understand the material well, well enough to be better than some 80% of their fellow students. As a matter of fact, it’s already been happening; some schools are already pushing this and some teachers have implemented this, since they think that students who score an A should be rewarded for their intelligence and hard work.

Exams are supposed to show what students know, but AP exams, the finals for AP courses, don’t do that. Colleges don’t look at AP scores to show how much a student knows, but to see how difficult their course was, using their AP scores to see how good their GPA was. And so, instead of having Warriors needing to prove to colleges that they deserve their course grade, we instead shift it so that their AP exams are considered as a grade, by using automated systems, to make it simpler for everyone.

More to Discover