AP Thoughts 1

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7 thoughts on “AP Thoughts 1”

  1. I just want to respond with some feelings that arose in reading this. Two weeks ago, I proctored the AP Spanish exam. I have never been more anxious as a teacher in my life (which sounds ridiculous when I type it). Why? Because I knew that there were recorded listening parts and a recorded speaking part which had to be captured in our language lab and then burned to a CD for each of the 15 students taking the exam. The teacher of these students is a close friend of mine, and I know how hard he and they have been working. I know how anxious they all were coming into the room. When the exam was over, there was a spontaneous and collective shout (literally). How horrible to feel that way so long!

    My anxiety was about screwing up. And, you have to know that at this point in my career, I seldom approach what I do as a teacher worried about screwing up. Not that I don’t screw up, but I accept that as part of the deal, as a great way for us all to keep learning. It’s just part of the landscape. Unless I screw up operating the damn machine that delivers the damn test to the students. Unless I screw up and hit the wrong buttons when the students are speaking and fail to collect their recordings. Unless I screw up trying to transfer the speaking files, one by one, to the CD’s that will go to the Board.

    See, each of those kids could have (and did) shown up, done their best, and it could have been for nothing if I screwed up any part of it.

    As far as I know, I didn’t screw up. But, it was a horrible experience. I’ll likely have to do it again next year. I was taken out of my classes for the entire day. One of our Assistant Principals has been doing AP testing work almost exclusively for the last two months. So, we all stop and do homage and obeisance to the AP gods. They are tyrants.

    I am so sorry that your French kids had to go through this with an idiot. That’s all this ugly process needs is a few well placed idiot proctors. I wonder how “chatty” he would have been if he knew that his teaching license were on the line. In GA, that is exactly spelled out for mishandling high stakes testing like this.

  2. Thanks, Bob, for responding. I am just in the throws of frustration, anger, sadness, disappointment and disillusionment. I really thought that these kids, that I had worked with for 550 hours over the last 3-4 years would have a realistic shot at the AP, only to see a numbskull throw it away for them. You were right to be nervous!

    That said, I didn’t know that a language teacher could proctor for another language teacher. We were told that only non-language teachers could proctor for us! How interesting.

    Sooo….how many of us on the blog teach AP courses? Can I ask the group, in the midst of my pain, to respond?

    1. In the past, when fifteen of my kids would score in the top twenty in the state on the National French Exam, some years, nobody said a thing. At East High School two years ago I had two top ten level 2 kids in the state and one national score, and not a person in the building said one thing to me. Not one thing.

      Trust me, I was listening for somebody to say something because I am a needy shit in my work. The principal said nothing. When my cross country teams in SC would grab a top three finish in the state few in the building on Monday morning cared. They heard it, maybe, and remembered it for about ten seconds.

      But who will never forget? The kids. I remember one team of average runners who in the state meet ran the race of their lives, all seven of them, like they were in a war. I can remember their faces as they crossed the line. I watched as the put it all out there, collapsing, being helped up, running times much faster than they had ever run, all seven of them. I remember where they placed in the state and what their times were.

      And they remember. In a world where teens are not important they were important that day. Now that I think of those days, I can just imagine if someone had mismarked the course those kids ran that day and my runners had gotten lost. Wow. That is really shitty. Now I see what happened with that proctor in a different light.

    2. The gains were made during, not after, the preparation. We don’t owe anybody anything, including test scores. Nobody is in charge of our teaching, not even Krashen, who has said exactly that a number of times about us. Nobody is in charge. We don’t answer to anybody about our scores on anything. And, for those of us who have done that, as Bob and David have eloquently stated this morning (read David’s last comment here – it’s a dinger) – this is just another thing to let go as we learn more and more about the Power of CI. The more we learn about this method, the more we have to let go of. There’s a crowding out process that has to happen.

  3. We were told that teachers who teach that language could not proctor. So, I was chosen to proctor Spanish. I pointed out to the coordinator that I do speak and understand Spanish. That did not matter. She said what mattered was that I didn’t teach Spanish. The German teacher proctored the French AP, and she knows French. Who knows. At our school with our language labs, the ONLY people in the building who know how to work them are language teachers. What made this worse for me is that while I can run the language lab, NONE of us ever capture recordings and then burn them to CD’s. We save them as audio files on our school server, so there was a learning curve even for us. At one point because of a malfunction on the language lab panel, I waited nearly 2 hours for someone to bring me additional CD’s to complete the burning process. My aid had already left. I was alone in the room with the materials and could not leave.

    I hear your anger and frustration. Given the circumstances, it is justified!

    1. This is exactly what happened to me. That is a long test! I can’t believe you guys are testing 15 students and we were in a rush to test 35 students (most of whom had little faculty in the language or preparation for the test). Several of our students rapped in English the whole time during the speaking section. I thought it was funny, because the students obviously didn’t want to do the test anyway.

      It is all about looking good, even if your students aren’t interested or ready to take the AP exam. Unfortunately, even here in south Fulton, there is a pervasive attitude among administrators that there is “no point to taking the 4th year of a foreign language unless you are ready for AP type questions.” Yes, several administrators have actually told me that. And we’re at a school where it’s a victory to keep students from fighting each other.

      Add to that the peculiar problem of Latin AP, where the exam tests philology and analysis in English rather than the language itself – and it’s a pretty daunting picture out there.

  4. I have basically nothing to do with the AP exam at my school and want nothing to do with it, but I believe that this represents “proctor misconduct”. In addition to what others have written above, especially Ben, this misconduct potentially costs students hundreds to thousands of dollars in extra tuition fees for classes they could have received credit for.

    If College Board hears about this, there are probably a couple of things that could happen:
    1. All of the exam scores might be voided, i.e. none of your students receive a score for taking the exam; it’s as if they never took the exam. (Now that is a true waste)
    2. The students might be given the opportunity to re-test; but I would explore the possibilities before lodging a complaint. Of course, you also have to consider the repercussions in your professional life at the school.

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