College Board prompts student failure

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The College Board modified the AP (Advanced Placement) registration process to prepare students for the AP tests for the 2019-20 school year. This includes turning in fee waivers and registering to take the AP tests earlier. However, pushing the registration date forward is counterproductive and should not have been changed.

The changes were an attempt to increase the passing rate, but the date change might instead increase the number of failing scores. Indecisive students or those who are not confident in their studying skills are being forced to decide whether they want to spend a large sum of money quickly. If they do decide to take the test and consider dropping it or register late for a test, they will have to pay a $40 fee instead of the previous $16 cost for every AP test cancelled. As a result, the College Board earns a lot more money as unprepared students who are not willing to pay the late fee fail the test.

Furthermore, being forced to make an early decision brings more stress to students who recently came back from summer vacation and are still getting accustomed to their new schedule. Students are already occupied with exploring the school’s clubs and extracurriculars as well as transferring classes. Adding the weight of deciding what AP tests to take will bring unnecessary stress.

Others may argue that the changes will ensure that registered students are less likely to cancel their registration and in turn, increase the number of test-takers. However, this may not be the case as students, especially those self-studying the subject, will not be able to familiarize with the material or test format enough to gauge whether they feel competent enough to pass it.  This leads to fewer students willing to sign up for AP tests as they are afraid to committing them.

In essence, the College Board changes may not work as intended: the date and fee change will not get more students to sign up for the test. Instead, students should be able to register at the usual date, but be required to pay the increased late/drop fee. Enough time is given to students to decide if they want to take the AP test and the fee will discourage last-minute second-guessers.

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