On the Utility of Using the AP Exam To Measure Your Worth

Here is the text of my post to the annual “How Did Your Students Do On The AP Exam?” thread in the AP Biology Teacher Community:

On the first day that I saw most of my students after they took the exam (most of them were out for most of the week for other AP exams), they all told me that they felt the exam was fair, and that they were prepared for it.  They expressed to me that they felt, to a student, that the amount of effort they put in was going to be reflected in their scores.  I reiterated to them that the idea that a 3-hour exam could accurately guage the complexity and depth of their understanding of a field like “Biology” was a ludicrous notion in the extreme, in the same way that their performance in the aggregate on the same instrument was a meaningless indicator of my ability to teach them about that field.

I did look at my results today, mostly to see if the site was functioning.  I’m glad to be able to say that all of the above held true, for yet another year.  Which means, that this September, I can once again begin my yearlong campaign of minimizing the significance of the exam, in the hopes that by doing so, I can get a room of incredibly number-conscious children to stop focusing on numbers, and instead focus on the most interesting subject I think there is to learn about.

I think it’s nice to be proud of our students accomplishments, and healthy to express the sentiment that we would like more of our students to accomplish more, but I would caution anyone reading this thread against generalizing any of the numbers that will inevitably make an appearance to their own circumstances or their own students.

How did my students do?  They did their best.  I didn’t need to look at the results today to know that.