Jul 6, 2015

2015 Advanced Placement scores are now available

The University of Rochester is "test-flexible"

In case you missed the email, Advanced Placement (AP®) scores for tests taken this past May begin rolling out on a region-by-region basis this week on www.apscore.org.  Starting with middle Atlantic and New England states today, the process works its way across country* and should be complete by Friday, July 10, when test-takers in Alaska, California, Hawaii, and Washington can expect to receive their scores.

For the record, old fashioned snail mail reports were discontinued several years ago in favor of an online arrangement that requires you to have a College Board account to access scores.

And with the staggered publishing of electronic reports, students searching for scores shouldn’t get bogged down in a system clogged with too many test-takers logging in at once.

BUT, to get your scores, you will need
  • an online College Board account requiring registration
  • your username and password, and
  • your 2015 AP number (the number on the labels in your Student Pack) OR your student identifier (student ID number) if you provided it on your answer sheet.
Unless there was a problem with identification, scoring or test administration, your scores should be waiting for you on the appointed day and will be added to a cumulative report of all AP tests you have taken to-date (you actually have to pay an extra fee to have any scores removed from the report).

If you’re unlucky enough not to have a score report, feel free to contact the College Board at apstudents@info.collegboard.org or 888-225-5427 (toll free), especially if you haven’t received scores by September 1.

And what do the scores mean? AP scores are a “weighted combination” of results on the multiple-choice and free-response sections.  The final score is reported on a 5-point scale, as follows:
  • 5:  Extremely well qualified to receive college credit or advanced placement
  • 4:  Well qualified
  • 3:  Qualified
  • 2:  Possibly qualified
  • 1:  No recommendation
You can also think of the five-point scale in terms of letter grades, with 5 equating to an “A” and 1—well, you get the picture.

And what are they worth? The awarding of credit and placement status is determined by individual colleges or universities. You can check directly with the school or on the College Board website to research this information.
In most cases, a student who scores a 4 or 5 may receive college credit. In rare cases, a school may require a 5, and almost no colleges will accept a score of 2. In fact, the most selective schools will not accept a 3 for credit.

Locally, George Mason University will accept a 4 or 5 for credit in specified courses, but will go as low as a 3 for languages, Music Theory, and Computer Science.  Neither Georgetown nor GW will award credit for any score below a 4.

The University of Virginia generally awards credit for scores of 4 and 5, but allows a score of 3, 4, or 5 on the French exams to fulfill the foreign language requirement.  Students receiving a 3, who wish to continue to study French, may skip FREN 2020. 

The University of Maryland is a little more generous and awards credit for scores of 3 or better in Art History, Comparative Government, English Language and English Literature, and U.S. Government and Politics.

AP exam scores may also be used to meet standardized test requirements in the admissions processes of several colleges. Fair Test keeps track of this evolving trend on its Test Score Optional List and includes Colby College, Colorado College, Hamilton College, Middlebury College, NYU and the University of Rochester among those colleges and universities allowing AP’s to be submitted in place of ACT/SAT scores.

Teachers and AP administrators will be receiving scores later in the month, and many high schools include score distributions in the school profiles they send to colleges along with transcripts. This is so admissions offices can put individual scores reported on applications in context with those earned by others in your class. 

And if you’re considering whether or not to take a specific AP course offered by your high school, these score distributions when correlated with grades can give you a pretty good evaluation of the quality of the class.

For those new to the process, the online reporting system seems like an efficient, environmentally-friendly way to get scores.  But be aware.  The College Board can now connect your AP scores with PSAT and SAT scores as well as any grade, career interest or family income information you provide in the course of test registration or on their net price calculators.  

And the College Board is all about mining for data that can be sold to postsecondary institutions, scholarship programs, or any number of organizations willing to pay for lists it aggressively markets.

These connections can be both good and bad. If you haven’t graduated from high school, expect to receive recruitment materials from colleges purchasing name and contact information anxious to get to know you. At the same time, don’t be surprised to hear from questionable honor societies or other organizations hoping to con you into paying for something you don’t want.

*NOTE:  Virginia AP scores should be available on Tuesday, July 7.

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