David Kristofferson tutors students for AP exams in California. He sees a scam that benefits mainly the College Board, which sells the exams for $100 per students and rakes in millions.

He wrote this article to share what he has learned.

The first thing that parents and others need to do is that the passing scores on these exams are very low.

Parents don’t realize that the passing scores for at least some of these exams are set very low. When their son or daughter passes with a 3, 4, or 5, parents are elated without understanding what this really means.

For example, the minimum passing score to get a 3 for AP Physics 1 for 2015 was only 41%. Despite that low bar, 63.1% of all students who took the exam were not able to pass it!

41% was the minimum score for a 4, and 71% for a 5.

Unconfirmed reports state that the AP Physics 1 passing grade in 2016 may have been 36%, but the College Board does not readily release such information to the public.

Meanwhile their test fees are pushing close to $100 per exam!

Jay Mathews of the Washington Post has been a strong advocate for the AP exams. He believes that students benefit even if they don’t pass them.

Kristofferson disagrees. He writes:

From my direct experience with students, the AP curriculum covers a large amount of material very quickly. Because the exams are in early May, the curriculum must be completed before then, wasting the final month of school, and making the pace of “learning” even more hectic.

The exams are also filled with very tricky, challenging questions to fulfill the College Board’s quest to, in old school, sexist language, “separate the men from the boys.”

The consequence of this fast-paced, trick-filled curriculum is not quality learning for a very significant number of students, but instead, frantic memorization of test methods and past exam question tricks, most of which disappears right after the student completes the course.

Even worse, this curriculum leads to significant amounts of cheating on local classroom tests!

Read Kristofferson’s article. What do you think?