Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fairfax County students no longer have to pay for A.P. tests

The Washington Post 
Fairfax County schools will no longer require students to pay for Advanced Placement exams, in response to a ruling by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II that called such fees illegal.
Fairfax Superintendent Jack D. Dale announced last year that the district would charge students for the tests, which cost about $75 each, as a cost-saving measure during difficult financial times. But last month, Cuccinelli (R) ruled that state law does not allow schools to mandate the fee, and elementary and secondary education is generally required to be free...


  1. According to the article, students must take the AP test in order to receive credit for the class in Fairfax. This is not the case in Montgomery County. Students can and do receive credit in all AP classes whether they take the test or not. One cannot therefore compare Fairfax to Montgomery on this issue.

  2. exactly anon 1:53 - "Fairfax students are required to take A.P. exams to receive credit for such courses."

    With this policy in place, the county is already weeding out students and killing a good program. Many students who opt out of the test still benefit from the instruction.

  3. MCPS ties grades to AP exams too.
    If they don't take the AP exam they have to take the final.

  4. how is MCPS tying grades to the AP exam? The student still gets a 1.0 boost in WGPA whether or not they take the AP.

  5. MCPS students don't have to take a final if they sit for the AP Exam. So a student can "sit" for an AP exam and get to skip the final. No final exam grade. The AP participation is, therefore, tied to the classroom grade. AP exam participation is not independent of the curricular program.

    But no worries here in MD! No MD Attorney General is going to say a peep about this. The MD AG won't say a word about illegal fees either. Public school is not on the AG's radar.

  6. It's rare to have a student "sit" for an AP test just to receive a 1 for writing his/her name on the booklet, as there are fees involved. So although the AP exam is a substitute for the semester exam that ultimately is NOT reflected on the report card, it's simply a waste of time and money to make that move if a student recognizes s/he will not be able to score above a 1 - or a 2, for that matter.

    If money is not an issue, than I place blame on the parents for enabling his/her child to play that game, as I seriously doubt most students are paying their own fees.

    We encourage students to take the AP exam, and personally I know of some teachers who have paid FOR students if money was an issue. However, if the class was a stretch, then the AP exam results will not reach above a 2, in most cases. So it's better for a student to opt out. The course exam, which is a substitute that IS reflected in the final grade, is not as difficult. Therefore, it's not punititive. Furthermore, in lieu of an exam, students may be given a project, such as an essay, that assesses them on AP learning goals w/o having to face the pressure of a test.

  7. This blog is based in Montgomery County, Maryland and the topic of this blog is the Montgomery County Public School system.

    We get comments from all over the country and all over the world.

    Without identifying who you are [teacher/administrator] and where you are [school district] anonymous posts without any information are meaningless.

    No one knows who "we" is.


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