AP testing in Theater 50 causes commotion

Megumi Kamikawa

Staff Writer

American High School hosted its annual session of Advanced Placement (AP) testing for two weeks, starting from May 5 to May 16. Throughout the course of the testing, numerous complaints have been made regarding the issue of testing in Theater 50.

Theater 50 is known notoriously as a difficult facility for testing with its squeaky chairs, tiny desks, and cramped areas. During recent testing days, many have addressed specific concerns when told they would be testing in Theater 50.

“It’s just placed in a bad location; we hear the bells every hour and the students in the hallways and it can be rather distracting,” junior Neha Akella said. “An obvious problem is also the desks. Compared to the desks around campus, they’re uncomfortable to write in with their smaller size and different seats.”

A majority of Theater 50’s seats are intended for those with a dominant right hand, and several left-handed students like Akella were forced to test in these uncomfortable desks. The issue was brought up and resolved for a majority of the rest of the AP exams, but some people still had to experience the difficulty.

“I had to sit diagonally, which probably looked like I was cheating half the time, now that I think about it,” Akella said. “I just think a lot of time was wasted trying to find a position that I could actually write in, and that hindered my ability to take the test properly.”

Some of the faculty members like AP English Language teacher Mrs. Smith have considered Theater 50 to be an inconvenient testing location that can “add undue stress to an already stressful examination.”

“I am not happy about Theater 50 being used as a testing location, especially for the Language and Composition Exam, since this test requires that students write three essays in two hours,” Smith said. “Realistically, all the AP tests are important, but I do believe the nature of the test and the requirements should be considered as testing locations are set.”

Unfortunately, exam locations cannot be organized by priority of subject, as “it all depends on the number of students taking the test,” AP test coordinator Mr. Reibenschuh said. He has already acknowledged the complaints from both parents and staff members.

“I understand everyone’s concerns, but it’s a facility issue,” Reibenschuh said. “Unlike many other schools, we don’t have a second gym to test in, and it wouldn’t be fair to move teachers out of their rooms for two weeks, either.”

The school has considered and attempted to rent out areas specifically for testing purposes, but in doing so, students would be required to pay an additional fee to the already pricey $95 per exam.

“It’s unfair to everyone to have to pay an extra fee when we already have an area large enough  for testing,” Reibenschuh said. “It’s not the best place to test, but it’s convenient. We need to establish an attitude of ‘let’s make the best out of it’ so students can take their tests with a more positive viewpoint, rather than assuming they’ll fail because of where they tested.”

Although the school is currently unable to improve Theater 50’s testing conditions, Reibenschuh ensures that, with “fingers crossed,” the school will hopefully be able to renovate the facility soon.

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