AP Testing: Blackmailing Teenagers

“When you are older, the quizzes, the tests, will all mean nothing. The SAT and ACT test students on how well they can take a test, how well they can memorize useless vocabulary. You will always have access to a calculator and if need it be, you can always find equations on Google. When you go out into the real w0rld, that’s when you will really learn what’s important.”

~Frank Thong

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So we’ve been preparing for AP testing for the past few weeks. Most of my teachers have been giving us practice problems/tests/essays so we will do well. But here’s a question: why are we even taking the AP’s in the first place?

Now, I understand that the AP tests are meant to see if we have actually payed attention to what’s been going on, if we’ve actually learned anything. It’s how we qualify for college credit, which is fine. I get that. What I don’t understand is why some AP teachers force their students to take the tests.

Take, for example, my AP US Government teacher. Now, at my school we only take one semester of Government and one semester of Economics regardless if they are AP or not. On the first day of school my AP Gov. teacher told us that we were going to take the AP Gov. test even though we wouldn’t be in his class during that time. If we didn’t, our Econ. teacher would administer a huge 100 question Gov. test that would affect our grade in Econ. But, if we were to take both the AP Econ. and Gov. tests, we would be exempt from the 100 question test and would get either: a) 100/100 or b) our grade would not be affected at all.

Now, normally I would be okay with this. Except, these tests cost $89 each. Meaning I have to pay $178 to take both tests. I know I can’t really cry about them being too expensive, if it really comes to it financial aid will take care of it. What I can complain about is the the fact that my classmates and I were just blackmailed into taking a test.

“Do it or suffer consequences,” consequences being a (most likely) negative impact on our grade. That’s the very definition of being blackmailed, or am I wrong? Blackmailing is illegal, its ethically wrong, and yet teachers all over the US are telling their students this.

I don’t know about some of my classmates, but I don’t take AP courses just to get college credit. In fact, while that may be a perk, the only reason I do it is because I like the challenge. I’ve been in CP (regular) English and I ended up learning nothing because I already new what my teacher was teaching me. My major in college is going to be International Business, so taking Econ was not only practical but very interesting to me. Learning about politics is important to me as well, I’m going to be voting in the next election and I like being well informed before making my voting decisions.

I didn’t do it to take some test.

Okay, maybe I’m being a little extreme but my point still stands. Teachers shouldn’t force their students to take AP tests. It’s unfair to students who are taking AP’s for reasons other than college credit and application fluffing. And to be honest it can really turn students off of a subject. What does that tell you about the teacher? Does it mean they really care about mentoring and educating students? Or do they have ulterior motives?

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