PCP: Requirement to continue attending AP classes following exams causes debate

May 12, 2022

Students should be required to attend AP classes after exams

After an entire year of cramming every detail about my AP class course so I can hopefully pass the exam to earn college credit, being present in class even after the exam is just as important. 

Although exhausting, I would rather finish off the class strong. Our unit tests during the year aren’t worth much towards our grade, but doing poorly on multiple tests can change your grade drastically. Luckily, my teacher offers extra credit after the exam to help bump your grade up. 

With the approach of offering extra credit, this can help students tremendously. I’ve talked to many classmates who do not feel prepared for the final exam even after months of studying and homework. Extra credit gives students the opportunity to still perform well in the class and close up the year with a good grade in the class, even if that means not earning college credit from the exam. Being in class while completing extra credit, makes it much more accessible for students to get help from their teacher and the unlimited load of materials teachers have provided year long.

Apart from the extra credit aspect of wrapping the year up, being present in class is still a very crucial component for future AP courses students may take. Many teachers can continue on lessons and keep students learning which could eventually impact their performances on other related courses.

Taking AP courses has boosted my academic independence as well. A lot of the course was just understanding how the test works and how to take these kinds of exams. I am certain taking these types of tests will benefit me in the long run, not just throughout high school, but also in college. Taking time to complete extra practice test formats and asking teachers to go over them can help students in their AP courses for the following years. 

Attendance is important in school — students’ attendance records can affect their privileges if they start racking up multiple unexcused absences. Even post-exam, you can use class time to work on schoolwork for other classes. Personally, I am more focused on getting schoolwork done at school because I know I will not be able to focus at home from the unrestrained amount of distractions. Believe it or not, if I try studying in my room where it is quiet, I usually end up taking a nap instead. 

In the end, I believe students should be attending class even after the exam is over because of the many benefits it can offer. It is also a way for students to show gratitude towards their teachers. Our teachers have been working nonstop for us to do well on these exams and to not show up to the class immediately after the exam is over feels like it’s sending a message of unappreciativeness towards their constant help and support.

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Students should not be required to attend AP classes after exams

As someone who has taken AP classes in the past and plans to continue to take them in the future, making attendance required after exams is not beneficial to the students who already took the test.

When taking an AP class, the entire course is spent working towards the AP exam at the end of the year in hopes of passing and possibly getting college credit. It takes months of nonstop content and a ton of extra studying and homework to feel prepared for the test, and even then, the content that will be on the exam is usually very unpredictable. This means you have to know nearly the entire course to feel completely confident that you will pass. 

It is also important to note that when taking AP classes, a lot of what I learned was not even the content of the class, but how to actually take the AP test. Not that it isn’t important, because it is, after all, the whole point of the class is to try and pass the test — but that means that after we took the test, it was no longer important to review this information.

Even though this work is incredibly exhausting and seems thankless at times, once the test is over, there’s about a month left of the course with no content left to learn, and therefore, nothing left to do. My AP teachers usually plan course-related content to do, but since none of it is spent practicing for the exam, it doesn’t seem worthwhile to me, and I would rather spend my time working on assignments for other classes that will impact my grades.

Additionally, if you have a grade in that AP class that you’re satisfied with, you won’t need to do extra credit. Although that isn’t true for all students, extra credit can be done at home on your own time. Especially for me, as I have an AP class 7th hour, which can be really frustrating. At that point in the day, I’m tired, burnt out and just want to leave school, so I would much rather do my extra credit work somewhere else knowing that I can always go in to talk to my teacher or email them if I need anything.

I also feel bad for the teachers that have to continue to teach after the exams. They still have to continue to plan busy work for their students to complete, and since there is no goal in mind, it can be really unmotivating to finish the year off strong. If they’re an AP teacher, they’re probably passionate about teaching the topic, and I can see how having a month or so left of no content left to teach could get frustrating.

However, since students can’t just not show up to class, there should be an alternative option for students that do not have work to complete and don’t want to spend the rest of their year in the classroom. For example, they could get sent to a study hall during their AP class or get their absences in that class for the rest of the year excused by the school.

Ultimately, making students continue to attend AP classes after they finish exams is not useful to either the students or the teachers, and does not reward students and teachers for all their hard work.

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