By Leah Peloff ’18
After eight months of preparation in a rigorous, college-level course and hours on end of studying for exams, students walked into their May AP exams with the hopes of saving thousands of dollars by testing out of basic entry-level college classes. Unfortunately, this past spring, 56 Sherwood AP exams were lost, never to be graded by the College Board. About 39 of these were AP AB Calculus exams, which is a required college course and a vital credit for many who wish to be exempt from college math.
After initially realizing the exams were lost, the College Board sent a letter to each of the impacted students giving them two options. First, they could retake, with no additional fee, the section of the exam that was lost (for AP Calc, the multiple-choice section), using an alternate form of the exam. Many students viewed this as a weak replacement for the important test considering much information had already been forgotten during the summer months. To try to accommodate this proposed solution, AP Calculus teacher Timothy Altaner agreed to host five or six review sessions before school for students who wish to retake. The modified exam will take place on October 24 during the school day.
If students do not wish to retake the multiple choice, the College Board gave a second option of simply cancelling one’s score and refunding the 75-dollar admission fee that all AP exams require. Cancelling, however, means absolutely no chance for credit, so several weeks later a third option emerged which seemed the best choice for many. College Board sent out “projected scores” based on the portion of the exam that the College Board did not lose.
“Under these circumstances, and because of the statistical relationship between the standard exam score and the projected exam score, we support the use of projected scores for the purpose of granting credit and/or placement,” explained the College Board in a letter to all affected students. With this, students had to choose what they wished to come of their exam score and send the letter back by as soon as possible.
Despite efforts to ameliorate the situation and accommodate the angered parents, students, and faculty, many are still wondering how such a huge mistake could have occurred in the first place and how to make sure something like this never happens again.