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AP Testing Update: Exams Begin amid Student and Teacher Concerns

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Beginning May 3rd, AP Exams began for Morro Bay High School and will run for the next two weeks until May 17th. Following a decision on April 1st by the Morro Bay High School Administration and the San Luis Obispo Coastal Unified School District, AP Tests will be held in Administration #1. This decision confirms the information given to The Spyglass on March 8th by MBHS Assistant Principal and AP Coordinator Stephanie Hardgrave. This decision was made amid frustrations by some MBHS Staff and Students, who worry they have not had enough time to prepare for exams. 

Junior Emma Gragson, who is taking the exams for AP Language and Composition and AP Chemistry, expressed her worries, saying that she was not feeling prepared for the AP Exam. Gragson explained that “it’s not the teacher’s faults, they have done the best they could. This year just took away so much learning time for us and with a subject like chemistry, we went over some units so quickly I barely had time to practice them and really understand the content.” Regarding the school district’s decision to have AP exams during the first administration date, Gragson said she “[feels] like it doesn’t leave a lot of room for students who can’t take it in person or parents won’t allow them to go to school in person. I think during such a chaotic time when everyone is just figuring things out, they could have been more lenient and given teachers and students more time to prepare for these exams. However, Gragson continued she personally “[doesn’t] prefer a different testing date” because she would “rather just get them over with as soon as possible.” 

This year has also presented challenges to AP teachers, who have had to adapt their classes to the modified schedule in order to prepare students for the exams. For Mr. Furbee, who teaches AP Calculus, this means that although his class has learned all of the content for the AP test, “[students] have not had as much practice” as they normally would. Furthermore, the decision to hold AP tests during early May means that Furbee, and many other teachers, lose further time for practice. Furbee explained, “for Calculus, the first administration test was on [May] 4th, and the second administration test was on [May] 24th,” so taking the test in the second administration would provide “a significant increase in review time and they were both paper tests, so I was like ‘that seems like a no-brainer.’”

However, there are valid reasons for taking AP tests during Administration #1, explained Furbee: “it was good because it was a paper test, which is what AP normally is, it provided some equity since everyone would be in the same boat [because] they would all be in the first administration and they would all be doing it on paper.” Further, by adopting the first administration as the primary date, if a student were to miss their test they could make it up during the month of May rather than potentially having to wait until after graduation. However, the AP teacher continued that “it would have been nice to have had a conversation with all the professionals that were involved, and that would have been the teachers of all the AP classes together with the AP coordinator of our site, which is Ms. Hardgrave. It would have been good to have that conversation before the decision got made.”

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