Wednesday, May 11, 2011

AP Stat Test Today

I am sneaking this in before the 48 hour moratorium on discussing anything AP Statistics test goes in to effect.  Hopefully the gentleman in dark suits and sunglasses from the college board that I see lurking outside of my window will understand.

Today my students will take the AP Stat exam.  I have no idea how well they will do.  I'm fairly certain that the students that this test wants to get a "5" will get a "5".  I've told my students that they are much more important to me than a test score.  After all the amazing things we they do in class, it seems rather anti-climactic to summarize them with a number between 1-5.

One of the worries that I have is that I spend most of my year allowing my students to demonstrate what they've learned in whichever way they wish.  Some like to create videos, some create Prezi's, others are content to write a report.  At the bottom of it all is my belief in giving kids a choice in what they wish to do, so that they can enjoy a learning experience other than "listen-do this-receive grade".

But the AP Stat test will not take in to account the freedom of choice and "uber-differentiation" that has made my classroom something everybody enjoys.  I do think that the students who have chosen the most in-depth learning experiences will translate their knowledge to any medium, even if it's some boring old test.  What about the kids that chose to write a report, or chose a learning experience that wasn't all that in-depth?  If I told them to choose something else that would be better in terms of test preparation, then I wouldn't really be giving them their choice at all.

With such a push for meeting individual student needs, how can we only give students 40 questions with 5 different answer choices to show what they know?  On the free response section, how come they have to answer parts (a), (b), and (c) when the most enjoyable part would be to explore option (d) that doesn't exist?

Next year, I'm going to suggest that none of my students take the AP exam.  There...I said it.  Our reasoning will be that we are going to do something better than answer someone else's questions, we're going to answer our own.

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