AP Grading Policy Fairness
By Robin Grace Bagaygay
On September 26, NHS parents received an email from Principal Matt Baldwin, explaining how the Advanced Placement (AP) Grading Policy has been put on hold. This new change was made in order to collaborate with the Novato Unified School District (NUSD) and form a grading policy intended to satisfy all students. The AP curriculum was made to prepare and test students for college-level courses. The goal is to encourage them to reach for higher standards and expand their learning.
AP Human Geography teacher Dany Kambur shared his thoughts on the decision to keep the original grading policy.
“I’m in favor of the current grading policy because it becomes an issue of payment,” said Kambur. “Some students can’t afford the payment ($92) and that becomes a little bit more crushing once you have 4 or 5 AP classes. Granted, that will save you money on the long term but in a short term it’s pretty expensive.”
The original AP grading policy allowed students to get the weighted grade regardless if they take the exam.
Baldwin, who once was an AP US History teacher, shed some light on the grading policy as well.
“I'm okay with keeping the original grading policy because you get the weighted grade since you did the course work,” Baldwin said. “And if you did the coursework and you put all that time and effort in the AP class then you should probably get the weighted grade.However, the problem that I had was with the teachers giving students a grade bump if students performed well enough on the AP exam. And that's not fair because that's double dipping. And the students are getting the weighted grade and a grade bump based on how well you did on the test. Which is not fair to the people who didn't take the test or couldn't afford the test. And that’s a real equity issue.”
Although Baldwin approved of the current grading policy, he made a point of how it is also an issue for students who did not take the AP exam.
He also believes that all students who take an AP class should be able to take the exam.
“The expectation is that everybody takes the test,” Baldwin said. “So then we need to make sure that we have the money available to pay for students who aren’t able to afford the test. And if you can't afford that test then I will pay for that test.”
In this case, he wants to be able to let all students take the exam, without money being a problem. This is exactly why NHS and NUSD are working on a new AP grading policy so that all students are satisfied and able to take the exam.
Baldwin mentioned the idea of NUSD potentially paying for AP students to take the exam.
“A lot of people in our community and in every community really look at AP as something special,” said Baldwin.