Voices collected by Journalism 1 Staff Writers
College Board recently announced that it will be moving the ordering and registration deadline for AP tests to November. The new deadline, which will take effect in the 2019-20 school year, is four months earlier than the current March deadline. A $40 fee was also introduced for cancelled tests or registration occurring past the deadline.
A statement on College Board’s website claims that earlier registration “supports deeper engagement and focus in AP courses and reflects best practice policies already in place at more than half of AP schools.” A pilot test in the 2017-18 school year with more than 40,000 students found that schools who registered in the fall had 50 percent more growth in exam enrollment and twice the growth in the number of low-income students who scored three or higher.
Despite these supportive results, opposition is strong.
Do you think the pilot test results justify College Board’s new early deadline and cancellation fees? Why or why not?
“This possibly might justify the earlier registration deadline, but I don’t think it supports the deadline and cancellation fees. The whole point is to help people in lower incomes, by putting a fee you’re just making it more expensive for them which essentially ruins the whole point.” — Jaiminy Qiu, 11
I don’t think the test results justify what College Board is doing because they were only about the effects of an early deadline. They do not give any reason for College Board to charge a $40 cancellation fee. I feel the fee might end up lowering the number of low-income students registering, because they would not want to register for something they might end up cancelling.” — Suprav Goswami, 12
Total Registration, the AP registration platform MSJ uses, conducted a nationwide survey of more than 2600 students, parents, teachers, administrators, and AP coordinators on College Board’s changes. It found that 90 percent of respondents disagreed with the planned changes, with many concerned about students’ ability to pay for exams or judge their preparedness as early as November.
Principal Zack Larsen said, “The [early deadline] forces students to make decisions way earlier than they need to, so it puts financial pressure on those who usually make later decisions and creates stress and anxiety for all of us on this campus.”
The cancellation fees in particular have led many to question the College Board’s true motives, with much of the discourse centering around financial motivation. 41 percent of survey respondents believed the changes were implemented to make more money for College Board, a non-profit that holds $885 million in assets and raked in $37 million in 2016 alone. Larsen said, “I don’t see the point of it, other than increasing revenue of Collegeboard on the backs of determined and hard working students.”
What do you think the $40 fee indicates about College Board’s financial motives?
“College Board is listed as a not-for-profit organization, though I don’t really know how much truth there is to that statement. I would assume that all these fees we see from registration, canceling tests, [and] sending scores to colleges, would be used for other students in need such as through financial aid or fee waivers. Though that may be true, I think that introducing more fees for things like late registration or canceling tests may not have been put forth in students’ best interests and shows that perhaps they should be a for-profit corporation.” — Annie Meng, 12
A petition against the early registration deadline has been created through www.change.org, and it currently has 928 signatures. The petition demands that College Board keep the ordering deadline for AP exams in March and remove the late order and cancellation fees. Encouraging people to sign the petition, FUSD administrator Carli Kim said, “Perhaps College Board may be swayed if students, parents, and school communities let them know that the earlier deadlines are not beneficial for students.”
For now, College Board’s proposed changes are still set to take effect in the fall of 2019. Regarding how MSJ students will adapt to these changes, MSJ AP Coordinator Pete Vaz said, “Our students will adjust, we’ll get it done, the tests will go on. To me, it’s an unnecessary burden … It’ll work out because it has to, but it doesn’t have to be this way.”
What are your thoughts on College Board’s deadline changes?
“I think that’s a great idea. November is just the start of the year so it’s easier to plan out and see how much time you can actually donate to studying for the test. I also believe that a few months can really show you how well you will do in the class and will do on the AP test. Honestly, I think the earlier the better.” — Ashika Kuchhangi, 11
“I think that moving the AP deadline forward is a bad idea. In March, students that have chosen their school through the early action or early decision program will know whether an AP test will count for credit at their school; this helps them save money on unnecessary testing.” — Nitin Sagi, 12
Graphic by Graphics Editor Lucia Li