Sections from hundreds of Advanced Placement exams taken around the world in May have been lost, according to the company that scores the tests, and students must now decide whether to retake them.
Tom Ewing, spokesman for the Educational Testing Service, which develops and scores AP exams for the nonprofit College Board, said that it was unclear exactly how many AP tests were affected but that the number was "in the hundreds, not thousands."
Advanced Placement classes are college level classes taught in high school. Students from these classes take a standardized test and depending on their score can earn college credit. Even if they do not score high enough for college credit, taking the Advanced Placement class lets prospective colleges know a student is willing to challenge himself.
This article hits close to home because my sixteen-year-old daughter is one of those with missing scores. Last spring she diligently studied and took the AP World History test. We returned from vacation in late July to find that she never received a score for this exam. A call to the high school guidance office offered no help. We were told that their records show my daughter took the test and the answer sheet was mailed to the College Board AP service. The College Board AP service has no record my daughter exists. The high school guidance office secretary made it clear the school is in no way responsible for this error and we will have to take it up with the College Board. For the last month, I have been calling the College Board office on a weekly basis, getting a new operator every week, confirming that there is an investigation number assigned to my daughter’s case, and finding no one has done anything to find her scores. The high school has not been able to offer any advocacy assistance because all the counselors are still on vacation. My daughter’s history teacher is very concerned and tried to search the school for any semblance of records pertaining to the AP tests but came up empty handed. He said any further investigation will have to wait until the guidance counselors resume their posts when the new school year begins. (In Northern Virginia schools don’t begin until after Labor Day)
I would like to cut the guidance office some slack and say they really did their job so there is nothing more for them to do. However, I am not convinced. Just a few weeks ago my son found out that Rice University had never received his final high school transcript and he would not be able to register for his freshman classes. The high school swears they sent it. Rice never received it. At our request it was resent and he is now all set for freshman year. When we moved here four years ago, my oldest was a high school junior and my second son was a high school freshman. I registered the boys and we spent a couple of hours with a guidance counselor getting them signed up for classes. On the first day of school the boys found out their schedules had been put in the computer incorrectly so the oldest had his brother’s schedule and the second son had his older brother’s schedule. I think data entry and accuracy is an issue with this office.
Two things have been discouraging. First, it is unbelievable that a test that carries so much weight for a student’s college career is handled so carelessly. I find no comfort in Mr. Ewing’s statement that the number of lost scores is “in the hundreds not thousands”. Secondly, I am disappointed the high school guidance office has offered no advocacy assistance. It very much feels like we have been told it is not their fault so they have fulfilled their obligations to my daughter. Perhaps that will change when the full complement of guidance office staff is available. I truly do appreciate my daughter’s history teacher personally looking into the matter and calling me with his findings. His concern for individual students is a hallmark of a very good teacher.
So I guess I just wait for another week to call the College Board AP office again. In the meantime, I will ask St. Anthony to look into the matter. He probably has a better chance of finding test scores than most of the bureaucrats of the school and testing systems.