The Testing Epidemic

by Meghna Kumar

AP exam week leaves students lamenting about the deluge of examinations imposed upon them. But, are these complaints true? You decide.

PARCC Examinations: To begin, all students are required to take the PARCC exam in order to graduate. PARCC, which stands for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, is the most recent attempt by the state legislature to standardize education and ensure that all students who graduate from high school have acquired the same competencies. Many students who took the OGT (Ohio Graduation Test) and qualified to graduate high school were still required to take a PARCC examination simply because they were enrolled in American History class.

AP Exams: AP (Advanced Placement) classes are college-level courses taught to students in high school. After completion of the year long course, students are allowed to take the AP exam in an attempt to acquire college credit for the course they completed. Scores range from 1 to 5. A score of five signifies that the student is extremely well qualified and has proven the capability to succeed in an introductory college course in that subject. A one signifies that the student is not qualified.

Semester/Final Exams: Semester and final exams are exams administrated by the teacher of every class a student is enrolled in at the high school. Each exam is weighted at 20% of the student’s semester grade for that class. Difficulties vary depending upon the teacher and level of the class. Students with strong attendance are given a “one exam exemption card.” These exemption cards can be utilized by the student to exempt one exam in class in which they earned an A or above for both quarters. However, in order to qualify for this card, students must have a 98% attendance for that entire semester.

ACT/SAT: The ACT and SAT are college placement exams that all students must take before applying to college. The ACT is scored on a scale that goes up to 36 and the SAT is scored on a scale that goes up to 2400. The essential goal of both exams is the same. They attempt to provide a standardized set of scores for each student, making it easier for colleges to compare academically two students who attended different schools. The ACT includes a science portion, which the SAT does not. Additionally, the ACT does not subtract points for guessing or marking incorrect answers, while the SAT penalizes students by removing 0.25 for each incorrect answer.




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