Silver Chips Online

AP students may be exempt from final exams

Decision to be made by special committee in coming months

By Will Bucher, Online Staff Writer
November 16, 2006
The Board of Education has established a committee to determine if finals are necessary for those students taking AP classes and go on to take the AP exam in May. According to Maria Trementozzi, the supervisor of the county social studies department, the committee will begin making its decision in the next few weeks.

The county department directors have been collecting feedback from their departments at schools through out the county, and will use this feedback to help the committee make its decision. The committee is waiting to receive widespread responses from schools before making its decision.

Ariana McLean
Schools are currently given no guidance on how to handle finals for the AP classes they offer, according to Trementozzi. "Currently it varies from school to school. Some have a final, others don't and some have projects. It's really up to the school," she explained. Blair currently leaves this decision up to the individual departments (Social Studies, Math, etc.) within the school.

Some teachers, like social studies head George Vlasits, feel it is unnecessary for students in AP classes to take the final. "It's rather anticlimactic to study for the AP, and then have to study again for the final which is typically much easier," he said. Other teachers, including AP Economics teacher Brian Hinkle, stated that a ruling in favor of final exemption would help in classes that are predominantly made up of seniors. "In classes where the majority of the students are seniors there may be only a few juniors taking the final," he said.

In addition to determining whether or not finals will be required for AP students, the committee will also have to decide how students' final grades will be determined. "While most seniors do not care about their final grade, juniors taking APs often hope to obtain A's in these courses," Vlasits said. According to Trementozzi, the committee will most likely have final grades be determined by trend like in other courses that do not require a final. Using the AP score is not feasible, as scores are returned after the final report card is distributed.

The committee has not set an official commencement date but departments should be receiving more feedback from schools on Wednesday, Nov. 15, which may allow them to begin.

The committee that will determine a county policy for final exams in AP classes was formed six weeks ago after a request by the President of the Board of Education, Patricia O'Neill. The committee consists of members from the Department of Shared Accountability and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, as well as two teachers. Various specialists will also participate by speaking to the committee.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/6934