Is a new trend brewing in college admissions with regard to AP score submission? For years, many high schools have required that students who are enrolled in AP classes take the AP exams in those subjects. If these students don’t sit for these exams, they lose the AP designations. This is certainly a reasonable stipulation that a high school can and does make and this is something we at The Ivy Coach accept.
But now, some high schools are becoming much more controlling. Some schools are now also requiring that students report their AP scores to the colleges to which they apply. This stipulation is not only unreasonable, but it is in direct opposition to FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) regulations. FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of a student’s educational record. Just as high schools should not be submitting SAT or ACT scores to colleges without the written permission of the student or the parent (for students under the age of 18), AP exam scores should fall in the same category.
Like SAT or ACT scores, AP exam scores are not part of the student’s educational record. Since the student pays $87 for each AP exam taken, the student therefore owns those exams and has every right to submit them or not submit them. According to FERPA, certain information may be disclosed. FERPA uses the term “Directory Information” to refer to the type of information that may be released without written permission from the student or parent (for underage students).
Here’s a list of what is considered “Directory Information”:
• Telephone number
• E-mail address
• School photo
• Date of birth
• Place of birth
• Extracurricular activities
• Dates of attendance
• Other schools previously attended
In addition, students have the right to request that directory information is not released.
Here’s a list of what is considered “Non-Directory Information”:
• Class schedule
• Disciplinary status
• Grade point average
• Marital status
• Social security number / student ID
• Grades / exam scores
• Test scores (SAT, ACT, GRE, TOEFL, AP, IB, final exams, etc.)
The fact is that AP scores (like SAT and ACT scores) belong to the student and the high school should not be dictating which scores to report. But the other side of this is that it would be impossible to enforce the submission of AP scores unless before a student submits his or her applications, a guidance counselor or school designee reviews those applications and that person, not the student, clicks “submit.” Oh yes, just visualize this – a very long line of seniors are camping outside the guidance office waiting for their turn with their already overworked guidance counselor to check that they have included their AP scores on their applications. Yes, this is certainly time well spent!