Advanced Placement Students Can No Longer Exempt Semester Exams

Changes in state policy mean changes for AP semester finals

By Alyssa Birkeland, Current Staff

With exam exemption policies changing year to year, many Advanced Placement students and teachers are confused about this semester’s plans.

“I kind of am not sure what’s going on,” said Laura Vraney, East AP Calculus teacher. “I thought students, if they had a B or better, five or fewer excused absences, and took the AP test, could exempt. But then I heard otherwise so honestly I’m not sure.”

“I don’t think there are any [exemptions], as far as I know. It’s all changed since I was here last,” said Randy Wray, West AP Chemistry teacher. “I think [students] have to take their final, but they don’t take it during finals week, they take them in the weeks before that.”

In past years, AP students had the privilege of exempting out of the final exam if they took the AP test. Due to requirements from the state with the school report card, students will no longer be able to enjoy this benefit that comes with taking challenging classes.

This year, all students taking AP courses will take the End of Course Assessment (EOCA) before taking the AP test. The grade students receive will count as their final exam grade, and they will not come to their final exam period at the end of the year. This change applies to all AP students, regardless of whether or not they are taking the AP test.

“We had a meeting last October—all the AP teachers were in the meeting, it was myself, Mr. Pauli was in the room,” said Principal Bill Greymont. “The final exam for AP will be taken before students take their APs. And then they’re done. That counts as the EOCA and will be before they take their final.”

Exam exemptions for all non-AP courses were eliminated in 2013.

Students can expect to prepare for both their finals and AP tests in the next few weeks. Although this change may seem like a lot at once, it should allow students to end the year on a more relaxed note with the hardest tests already out of the way.

The new policy for AP final exams should serve to be more effective for both students and the district, Greymont said. It will offer students extra practice for the actual AP test and help the district measure progress on its state report card.

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