Students Will Access AP Scores Online for 2013 Exams

New for the 2013 AP Exams, students will access their scores online.  In order to access their scores, students will need to create a College Board account.  Students can easily create a student account at www.APScores.org.  Students who already have accounts from taking the SAT, etc should not need to create an account.

Beginning in the first week in July, students will be able to access their scores online.  In addition to their College Board account, students will need one of two pieces of information to access their scores:

  • School/District/State Issued Student ID Number – This must match the number students provided on the answer sheet.
  • AP Number – This is the eight digit number assigned to students.  The AP number be found on one of the bar coded labels that were applied to the answer sheet.  Hopefully students retained this number as instructed.

It is important to note that scores will no longer be mailed to students, so all students will obtain their scores online.

Schools will also be able to access scores online, so students can check with their school if they are unable to access their scores.

Students will be able to access both their current and past scores online.  If students do not see scores from previous year’s, they should contact the College Board

Washington Post Publishes Annual National School Rankings

The Washington Post recently published its National School Rankings based on the Challenge Index that Jay Matthews developed in 1998.  Schools are ranked by taking the number of Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate exams administered at school divided by the number or graduating seniors.  Newsweek releases similar rankings using pretty much the same formula.

Every year, there is much discussion around whether these rankings are meaningful.  Jay explains:

While not a measure of the overall quality of the school, the rating can reveal the level of a high school’s commitment to preparing average students for college.

Of course challenge is good, but the quality of a school cannot be based solely on challenge.  Many contend that since scores are not used in this system, schools could encourage many unprepared students to take these challenging courses.  Enrolling unprepared students can cause teachers to “water down” the course, diminishing the success rate of  students who are prepared.  Fortunately, the Challenge Index does use the AP/IB exams in the formula.  This is important as these courses culminate in a national exam.  Over time, communities can know whether the courses offered at their school are the real deal based on the school’s pass rate.  If the pass rate is low, perhaps the courses are AP or IB in name only.  If the index used “Honors” classes there would not be the external validation that the national exams offer.

Whether this is a good rating system or not, it clearly favors schools that encourage students to challenge themselves with AP and IB exams.   Total Registration is excited to note that the #1 and #2 schools use our service, as well as many other schools in the list.    We are pleased to serve so many schools that challenge students.  We are proud of the fact that even though this list represents 7% of the nation’s schools, more than 50% of Total Registration’s 230 schools are on this list.  Clearly, schools with large AP and IB programs value the ability to have students register themselves for the exams online through Total Registration.

Schools that wish to simplify the Advanced Placement exam registration process should visit www.TotalRegistration.net to learn more.  In 2011, more than 78,000 students registered themselves online  for over 150,000 AP exams at 230 schools using Total Registration’s service.

College Credit for High School Students – Advanced Placement or Dual Credit? Part 1

There are a variety of ways today’s high school students can earn college credit while attending high school. Of course, with options comes the difficulty of deciding which is best.   The following is an overview of a few of the options many schools offer.

Dual Enrollment, Dual Credit or Concurrent Enrollment

Across the U.S., Dual Credit, Dual Enrollment or Concurrent Enrollment (different names, same idea) classes have recently become very popular.  These high school classes offer students college credit for their high school class by partnering with a local college/university.  Students typically need to pay an additional fee to become a “student” at the college/university, at least for the purpose of earning credit.  After doing this, students earn a grade in both the high school and college class, allowing students to “transfer” credits to college upon admission.

Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate

In the past, students desiring college credit needed to take an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate class and do well on the national exams in May.  Many schools offer AP classes that teach students the subject while preparing for the exam.  The national exams do cost money ($87.00 MSRP for 2011) and students may earn credit based on their score.  Colleges have different requirements for the minimum score required to earn credit.  This score may vary depending on the course and the major the student desires to pursue. 

Classes at a Local College

Another time honored method to receive college credit is for the student to acutually attend a local college/university class while still in high school.  This of course can cause scheduling issues for many schools and not all schools are close enough to a college/university to be able to offer this option. 

I  recently read an  article from the Dallas Morning News that discusses this same topic,  Not all colleges accept dual-credit hours amassed by Texas high school students.

Next Week: Part II: The pros and cons of each

College Board will stop deducting points for missed multiple choice questions on AP exams

The College Board recently announced that they will stop deducting points on AP exams for missed multiple choice questions, read about the policy change here.  Beginning in May 2011, students will receive 1 point for each correct answer and 0 points for incorrect answer.  Here’s the new policy from the College Board’s website:

Beginning with the May 2011 AP Exam administration, there will be a change to the way AP Exams are scored. Total scores on the multiple-choice section will be based on the number of questions answered correctly. Points will no longer be deducted for incorrect answers and, as always, no points will be awarded for unanswered questions.

This is a change from past scoring systems where  a part of a point was deducted for incorrect answers.  In the past, if a student missed multiple choice question with 5 possible answers, a 1/4 of a point was deducted.  The justification behind this was to remove the effect of guessing.  With 5 answer choices a student had a 1 in 5 chance of getting a correct answer if they truly guessed.  The idea behind the 1/4 deduction is that if a student guessed on 5 questions, they statistically would get one right, earning a point and 4 wrong at -1/4 point.  This translates into 1 + 4(-1/4) = 0 points.

Personally I do not understand the change, as the past scoring system had been used for so long.  It seems that the College Board will now have a harder time comparing new scores to past scores, but perhaps that is the goal :-). The multiple choice score will now be larger on average.  This of course can be accounted for when normalizing the scores, but throws one more wrench in the spokes.

The biggest problem I have with this change is that it  will benefit the students who struggle on the exams more than the students who have mastery over the content.  Think about it, exceptional students are not guessing much, and will therefore not be affected much, while less proficient students guess more and will now have a higher multiple choice score.  This change in scoring will result in reducing the range of the multiple choice scores by increasing the low end while not affecting the high end.  Perhaps this is the desired affect as many schools and districts have been criticized for “over expanding” their AP Programs, by encouraging students who are ill-prepared to take AP courses.

Only time will tell how theses changes will be received by the colleges that accept AP credits.  Let’s hope for the sake of the students that this does not cause more colleges and universities to deny college credit for AP exams.

You can read other opinions/comments regarding  the policy change here:

iPads as an educational tool?

I read of a couple of private schools evaluating using iPads as a possible textbook replacement tool, Reading, writing, and iPads and Lafayette’s Alexander Dawson School swapping books for iPads.  Both articles mention some benefits:

  • Text books are much cheaper in electronic format,  about a third the cost of a traditional text book.iPad
  • They are more engaging to students
  • They can display additional content like videos, browse the web, etc
  • Can be used for quizzes
  • Can access current information from newspapers and magazines
  • Textbook revisions are cheaper to update

There are also several disadvantages to iPads or any other e-book  reader:

  • The initial cost is expensive
  • They are more likely to break than a text book
  • They need to be plugged in to recharge
  • Transporting materials to and from school is hard on them (have you checked out your kid’s back pack?)
  • Students may get distracted by some of the other abilities of these tools and lose sight of the task at hand

It will be interesting to see how these experiments work out.  The possibilities are very exciting and interesting.

What are your thoughts on iPads replacing textbooks?

Will you be attending the 2010 AP Annual conference in Washington D.C. in July?  Stop by the Total Registration booth to register to win an iPad and a free year of  our AP exam registration service.