The Hall County Board of Education is considering a change in policy on whether or not students in Advanced Placement classes should be required to take AP exams.
The issue was brought up at the Monday work session of the board.
Board member Bill Thompson said there are several students who either are not prepared to take the test, or who simply don’t want to take it for whatever reason.
Advanced Placement is a college-level course, with the AP exam scores ranging from 1-5. Many colleges will accept the course as college credit if a student earns a 3, 4 or 5 on the exam.
Thompson said administering the tests only to students who want to take the exam, or who have earned a certain grade in the course, is a way to help save money.
Right now, AP students are required to take the exams, which are paid for out of the school system’s general fund budget. Tests are $84 apiece, and around 2,000 are administered per year, Superintendent Will Schofield said.
“We have students who take up to four or five AP exams in a given year,” Schofield said. “We’re spending a lot of money on AP exams, and what you’re hearing and what I’m hearing is we’ve got a significant number of kids who don’t really want to take the exam.”
Thompson said in some cases the student doesn’t need the credit for college, so the test isn’t as important to that student. In other situations, students may be required to take the course in college regardless of their exam scores.
“I would just like to see us do a better job of monitoring it a little bit closer,” Thompson said. “I think there may be some ways here to save a little bit more money.”
Schofield said administration would work to get feedback from school principals and teachers, and will bring recommendations to the board at a later meeting.
Separately, the school board approved a $50 stipend for each classroom teacher to help alleviate some back-to-school shopping pain.
The teachers received their $50 Friday, in time for the sales-tax-free weekend.
“They could use them anywhere,” Schofield said. “All they had to do was sign an affidavit that it would be spent on instructional supplies.”
The school board had been heeding requests from teachers who were spending money on classroom supplies out of their own personal budgets.
“We wish we could do more,” said board Chairman Nath Morris. “We hope that helps out a little bit.