Written by David Hatz, Retired Teacher and Coach

 

         AP Exams are right around the corner, and I know many of you are preparing to take one or
more of these rigorous tests that accurately measure your college readiness in various subjects.
         Moreover, earning a 3 or higher on an exam may earn you college credit (depending on the
college/university you attend), which, in turn, can help cut one’s tuition costs and raise one’s
registration priority status – a key for freshmen who generally start at the bottom the pecking
order and often find it difficult to get all the classes they need.
         Obviously, the more exams on which a student scores a 3-5, the more college credits they
earn. And I know of many Spartans who preceded you who reaped benefits from the success on
the exams, earning from 21-34 units of college credit during their four years of high school.
         I am sure your AP teachers have instructed you well for your upcoming tests and are about
to begin the review process, if they haven’t already done so. I am also certain they have
provided you with another excellent resource: a schedule of live reviews on AP Classroom that
began April 19 and run through April 29.
         On the chance they you did not receive the schedule, here is a link to those sessions that you
can cut and paste: https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/about-ap-2021/updates/ap-daily-live-
review?SFMC_cid=EM483368-&rid=47052568\

 

A Final Word on the Exams

         You may have noticed I did not use the words “pass” or “fail” when referencing AP exams. Be
assured the omission was intentional.
         It always bothers me when teachers/students use those words when discussing AP tests
because those terms are not accurate in this case. One neither “passes” nor “fails” an AP exam.
         As noted, the test “measures college readiness in various subjects.” Further, Collegeboard’s
explanation of the 1-5 scoring system makes no mention of passing or failing.


AP Exam Score                          Recommendation                          College Course Grade Equivalent
         5                                          Extremely well qualified                                        A+ or A
         4                                          Very well qualified                                                  A-, B+ or B
         3                                          Qualified                                                                   B-, C+ or C
         2                                          Possibly qualified                                                   ––
         1                                          No recommendation                                              ––


         When encouraging my AP English Language and Composition students to take the exam, I
always stressed the obvious point of it being the best measure of a student’s college readiness
and demonstrates to them what they learned in the class.
         I also emphasized that it is not a pass/fail situation, and is, instead, a no-lose proposition. A
student has everything to gain (college credit), and nothing to lose.
         Some students fear scoring a 1 is of no benefit and may even hurt their chances of getting
into the college or university of their dreams. Not true – Fake News! College admissions deans
stress low scores do not detract from a student’s chances because it demonstrates they are risk

takers. Higher scores may certainly improve one’s chances, but lower ones are not deal-
breakers.
         So, for you freshmen, sophomores and juniors who took AP classes this year but are not
taking the corresponding exams, I hope you will consider otherwise next year.


Back “Home” Again

         I had the privilege of being the public address announcer for two of CVH’s football games –
Hilltop and Bonita Vista – during the recently completed, pandemic-delayed season.
         The Hilltop game was more fun since the Spartans throttled the Lancers 42-21, and reclaimed
the Kiwanis Bowl trophy. That said, it wasn’t all about winning but a chance for athletes,
cheerleaders, faculty, staff, students, and parents to start to regain a sense of normalcy.
         The season finale on April 16 against Bonita Vista was bittersweet. It was Senior Night and
Homecoming. And while the tributes and ceremonies were well deserved and well done, they
lacked the fanfare of past celebrations for obvious reasons (thanks, COVID).
         I hope things are closer to normal in the fall, as I yearn to again see the stadium packed with
Spartan alumni, and the second-to-none halftime spectacular presented by the SCPA dance
programs.
         Still, it provided me with the opportunity to see colleagues and friends (and a few former
students) that I have not seen in far too long.
         Thanks Ms. Cabe and Mr. Wilson for inviting me back.
         Until next time, write on!

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