AP tests mandated for GPA bump $93 fee must be paid for by test takers

According to a new policy established by CCSD, students taking AP classes are now required to take the corresponding exam in order to receive the 0.050 GPA grade bump.

“By taking an AP exam, a student is experiencing the rigor of college curriculum,” lead counselor Paige DeSantis said. “These students will be more prepared for college and will also be more successful at the college level.”

In 2008, school board Trustee Carolyn Edwards began advocating for the mandatory AP exam. Studies, such as one completed at University of California, Berkeley, showed the correlation between student performance on AP exams and success in college.

“Over the course of the years, there was a change in leadership in the school district and a change in the makeup of the board of trustees,” Edwards said. “These changes, along with research on how our students were doing on the exams, resulted in the policy change. Both [studies] support requiring students to take the exam, regardless of outcome.”

The district hopes that based on what the studies have shown, students will work harder in class throughout the year, leading them to do better in college.

“In Washoe County, I know they saw an improvement in test results and an increase in those taking the courses,” Edwards said. “One circumstance, but still compelling.”

Students who are not planning to take the exam must provide the school with proof of consent from a parent and/or guardian and will only receive a 0.025 grade bump.

“I think students should seriously consider taking the exam because they will be able to receive other benefits along with a grade bump in their GPA,” AP Human Geography teacher Pate Thomas said. “Scoring well on the exam could mean receiving college credit and being given discounts on your tuition.”

Those taking AP exams are expected to pay a $93 exam fee per test. Students who qualify for free and reduced lunch are required to pay $15 per test. If a student is taking three or more AP classes, they will be expected to take at least three of those exams; any additional test is optional, but will still come with the $93 fee.

“I think the grade bump is a nice benefit that comes along with taking the exams,” junior Jessica Diep said. “I just feel as though the price of the tests might decrease the number of students taking AP courses in the following years. They will have heard of it prior to choosing their new classes.”

AP students will be given the 0.050 grade bump regardless of their score on the exam, as long as they pay the required fee and participate in taking the exam.

“In general, having students take the exam makes sense,” AP World History/Government and Politics teacher Joseph Juliano said. “The teacher is probably going to teach the class towards the test, so I believe the exam part of an AP class is pretty important.”

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