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Students make-up AP exams due to flooding

Photograph via Wikipedia under Creative Commons License.

Photograph via Wikipedia under Creative Commons License.

Brandon Ingli, Marquette High School

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AP Students across Rockwood will take their exams later than expected after floods closed schools earlier this month.

Flooding in the Eureka area forced the Eureka quadrant schools to close May 1, and the rest of the district followed May 2 due to road closures in the area. Schools remained closed the remainder of the week.

AP Exams scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday were canceled, and students will take the make-up exams May 17-19. Marquette, Lafayette, and Rockwood Summit students who signed up for the US Government exam on May 4 and the US History exam on May 5 had the option of either coming to school for their regularly scheduled exam or waiting to take the make-up test.

Students at the three schools, however, voiced concern for the difficulty change between the two exams.

According to the College Board, the organization behind AP testing, one version of an AP exam is no easier than another. To ensure this, they use a process called an “Equivalent Groups Equating Design” to level the playing field across exams.

“The statistical procedures used in the equating process adjust for differences in difficulty among exam versions that are built to be similar in difficulty and content,” according to the College Board website. “As a result, the scores from the different versions can be used interchangeably.”

Erin Sullenger, AP US Government and Politics teacher, was surprised to find out students would be allowed to take the US Government exam even though school was closed.

“It has always been under my assumption that if school was canceled, all school events are canceled,” Sullenger said. “I felt like there was a very short notice to students and teachers.”

Sullenger advised her students to only take the regular exam if they felt as though they were prepared to do so.

“We didn’t have our two content-specific review days that were student generated topics,” Sullenger said. “I feel like there still could have been some questions that a student would have that wouldn’t have been fully answered yet.”

To further help students prepare, Sullenger has talked with other AP US Government teachers in the district, who have shared their preparation materials for use in Marquette AP Government classrooms. Sullenger also plans to show her students the “Cram for the Exam” program C-SPAN hosts every year before the AP US Government Exam.

Allison Chan, senior, is registered to take the AP Physics 1 exam, which was rescheduled due to the flooding on May 2. She said that she was hoping the school would allow her to take the exam on time.

“I think we should have been allowed to come and take the exam at the regular time, because we weren’t really affected by the flooding,” Chan said. “If I had the choice, I’d take the normal exam just to get it done.”

This will be the first time Phil Schmidt, AP Physics teacher, will have a student take a late exam in the 20 years he has been teaching AP.

“I understand why it happened,” Schmidt said. “I was also hopeful when it first started happening that a plan would’ve been put into place to accommodate people who wanted to go ahead and get their AP exams taken care of. That plan wasn’t put into place until Wednesday morning [May 3].”

Schmidt said he will be using the extra time to help further prepare his students through alternate assignments to keep them engaged in the material. He also distributed to students the free response questions from the regular exam, which the College Board makes publicly available on the respective AP course websites about two days after the exam.

“Marquette AP students are resilient and focused in general,” Schmidt said. “And so, I would guess that things are going to be about normal.”

Read the original story here.

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