AP Students Not Taking the AP Exam May Be Required to Take a Cumulative Final

With the first advanced placement, or AP exams starting this week AP students around campus are scrambling to prepare. What about the students, however, who have chosen to opt out of taking an AP exam?


Kaushikee Nayudu

Dublin High School currently offers twenty-eight AP courses. AP classes are designed to revolve around college curriculum and every May students take an AP exam facilitated by the college board. The three to four hour-long exams cost around a hundred dollars and are graded on a scale of one to five, with five being the greatest. Most colleges, including California’s state schools, recognize the AP exam as proving proficiency in those classes and accept them as college credit. Even students not registered in AP classes can choose to register and take the exam, though most AP teachers recommend against it.


While the majority of students taking AP classes register for the AP exam, there are some students, who choose to take the class but not the exam. AP coordinator Eric Calloway described the purpose of AP exams as being not only for preparing students for the exam but to “explore the rigors of curriculum, prepare students for classes, and to serve as a great opportunity for students to explore the scope of really any subject.”

In the rare cases of students choosing not to take the exam, the exam is usually supplemented with a cumulative final. As Counselor Eric Calloway explained ¨though there is no official policy regarding the AP exam or mandating that students take it,” he was certain that teachers ¨would not enforce a final policy without proper reasoning.¨


An AP French student agreed with Mr.Calloway remarking that ¨given that the course (AP French) is designed to prepare students for a final it doesn’t seem unreasonable that students not taking the AP exam be required to take a final.¨ Several AP classes, particularly the language ones, are designed to ensure student preparedness for the AP exam. Therefore, testing student ability with a final doesn’t seem all that unreasonable. As AP teacher Kelly Ball explained, “students should expect to have some type of assessment of their knowledge if they are taking an AP class, whether they are taking the college board exam or not.”  Ms.Ball also stated that in her classes she assigned a mandatory final project for all students. She described that her “students seem to favor the final project because it is a real-world application of the skills and knowledge they have built all year long.”


Some students feel that replacing the AP exam with a final is unfair. Junior Kelly James expressed that students ought to be allowed to take ¨AP courses solely for the educational expansion – and not be required to take a test that would impact their grade.¨ James brings up an important point, while the AP exam typically does not typically damage student grades, a final would. Further complicating the matter, some students argue that the purpose of AP classes is not at all for college prep or credit but rather to expand student’s educational horizons. At the end of the day, regardless of how students may feel about it, the decision of what to supplement the AP exam with, if anything, is in the hands of the teacher.


Ultimately, as AP Mandarin student Celine Tung remarked: “after committing to the rigor of an AP class there is little else a student can do, but students with complaints should air any grievances they may have directly to the teacher.” After all, the discussion – though it may reap few results, can only change things if it’s between the student and the teacher.