Too much testing tears AP students to tiny tatters
May 19, 2015
When you were younger, there is a good chance one of the things you were most frightened of was the monsters under your bed.
By now, those monsters have probably changed. However, if you happen to be a student at OHS, there is a good chance those monsters have been replaced with the horrific incantation known as “AP testing.”
The practice AP testing schedule that has plagued students and teachers alike for the past six weeks has been difficult, to say the least. Nonetheless, it was a very valid attempt with some advantages.
Knowing final exams are completed by the time real AP tests conclude is a welcome relief. By the time students finish being challenged to remember every possible piece of information from the past eight months, their brains have checked out and booked a flight to Hawaii.
Regardless, the best advantage of all lies in the fact that taking a full practice AP test is genuinely helpful. It familiarizes you with exactly how the test will be formatted and the way the questions will be phrased.
Unfortunately, the AP testing schedule OHS students were presented with this year did not follow the more is less strategy.
While one full practice test is plenty, two is simply overboard. If someone is trying to hammer a nail, they are not going to reach for a sledgehammer and smash the nail with all their might, as it goes beyond the point of being effective. This is what the second round of practice AP testing did.
Also, having finals out of the way by the time actual AP tests are occurring is certainly nice, but making the practice tests count as final exams might be slightly extreme. This adds such an enormous pressure to them, when they should only be part of a student’s final, or factored in some other way.
AP students not taking the paid AP tests were also at a disadvantage here. They had been in the class all year, but had their time wasted when they were taken out of class to take a test that would not even count for them.
If, and most likely when, the practice AP testing schedule is implemented next year, AP students not taking the paid tests should have the option of whether they do the practice tests or not. They should not be forced to miss class time in other areas for a test that they do not find beneficial towards their personal education.
Finally, the biggest misfire in the testing schedule was the timing. A common misconception among students was that they would be able to see specific areas of the first practice test that they did poorly on, thus knowing where to focus the following time.
Unfortunately, with the schedule being so hectic, there was no real class time to go over the tests in depth. Some teachers elected late night study sessions to aid this problem, but so much outside time could be conserved if there was time during the school day.
The AP practice testing schedule was a thoughtful experiment with frustrating results that ended with several AP students wanting to drown in their own tears. However, it has certainly given OHS a solid foundation to build, and rebuild, on for the coming years.