Last year’s Advanced Placement American History students recently learned they would be taking an end-of-course exam for a course they completed more than six months ago if they want to receive the state’s newly created scholar diploma.
Last April, Gov. Rick Scott signed into law an education bill that reversed some of the rigorous standards put into place in 2010. The new law creates a “standard” diploma plus “scholar” and “merit” designations. For a standard diploma, students do not have to take all the math and science courses required by the 2010 law or pass all the state exams. But they must take Algebra 1, biology and geometry. A merit designation requires students to take and pass on industry certification course. Those seeking a scholar diploma must meet the standard diploma requirements, plus take Algebra 2 and statistics or an “equally rigorous” course, chemistry or physics and another “equally rigorous” science course. They also must take at least one AP, International Baccalaureate or dual-enrollment course
Previously, those taking AP American History had only to take the AP exam after completing the course. Now, those seeking the scholar diploma also must take an a state-generated American History end-of-course exam.
“About three weeks ago the decision was made and we had to comply, even though six months earlier the legislature said that any student taking an AP course, such as APUSH, wouldn’t be required to take the EOC,” APUSH teacher Jim Pustay said.
Even though he was caught off guard, junior Alex Autenrieb wasn’t too concerned.
“I was told it was so easy that I don’t have to worry about it,” he said.
Students’ reactions ranged from annoyance to ambivalence.
“I think that it’s stupid to make us take the EOC, but I don’t really care all that much,” sophomore Ellie Cooper said.
Pustay said the new requirement should not be a worry for any American history students at West Shore.
“The EOC is only practice for APUSH students,” he said. “They get to practice their knowledge of American history on a basic level, which is very good for the students.”
The 42 students who opted for the scholar diploma were called out of class last week to take the online exam. In some cases, this made the miss important lessons.
“We learned something new in math and I was totally behind,” junior Taylor Kelley said. “I had to teach myself and I’ll probably fail that part of the exam.”