Starting in 2015, Rappahannock County High School students enrolled in an Advanced Placement (AP) course will have to take the AP test to receive credit for the class, the Rappahannock County School Board decided at its monthly meeting last Tuesday night (June 11).
The school division’s Curriculum Review Team originally proposed the change at the board’s May meeting. It was eventually turned down because the board members were worried that requiring students to take the AP exam might create an unfair financial burden on students’ families.
The board’s 2013-2014 budget included a $9,000 expenditure to cover the costs of AP testing for families who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it; each test costs approximately $80, though there are also some discounts available to help lower-income students.
Interim superintendent Kathleen Grove, in her last board meeting before full-time replacement Donna Matthews takes office, told the board members that 118 AP tests were administered this academic year, and pointed out that the budgeted amount accounts for (likely) growth in student interest in the tests.
Grove added that the Headwaters Foundation would be donating $1,000 this year toward making the tests more affordable for all students. Headwaters normally donates $5,000 to this cause, but was forced to cut back the amount this year.
“I think it’s a good plan,” said Jackson district board member Amy Hitt. “If you take the class, you should take the test.”
Ultimately, the board unanimously decided to make AP tests mandatory for the 2014-2015 school year. For the school year beginning this September, the board decided to leave the decision to take the AP as optional, though chairman John Lesinski said students would be “strongly encouraged” to take the tests.