At the beginning of the school year, AP/IB students were told they were NOT required to take quarterly examinations. However, on the week of September 29th, the administration decided to change this policy and require AP/IB students to take the quarterly examinations.
AP/IB students were not informed of the reasoning behind this change. Several AP/IB students are puzzled by this change, not only because the switch was not widely discussed or explained, but also because students did not have a say in this matter, even though it affects the course of their school year. We believe that being exempt from quarterly examinations will benefit AP/IB students and teachers, the academic environment, and AP/IB examination scores.
The AP/IB exams are administered in May by the College Board and International Baccalaureate. They last several hours and require ample class time for both students and teachers to efficiently prepare for them. The exams rigorously test all of the material that was taught throughout the school year; each class period of preparation and learning counts.
Many of the students taking AP/IB classes are taking more than one. If a student has two rigorous AP/IB quarterly exams on the same day (e.g. Calculus and Literature), in addition to having all of their other classes that day, the student will not have enough time to study for the exams and complete their homework for all of their other classes. The AP/IB quarterly exams are bound to be incredibly challenging and to require more than a few days worth of study.
Though the preparation for these examinations is supposed to help AP/IB students learn the material for the given course and examination, it might have the opposite effect; early in the year students might be focusing on the preliminary topics that are not as important for the AP/IB exam, when time would be better spent moving on to new topics.
This policy could disadvantage students at Fort Lee High School who are juggling AP/IB programs and college applications, and adversely affect their competitiveness relative to other districts, specifically the Top 10 Districts in New Jersey that also offer AP/IB programs.
We believe that the Administration and Board of Education should reconsider their policy on quarterly examinations for AP/IB students; being exempt from quarterly examinations will benefit AP/IB students and teachers, the academic environment, students' competitiveness in college admissions relative to students in other districts, and AP/IB examination scores.