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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Blog # 23 Mambo Number Five

From Composite Score to AP Score

The process of score setting—establishing the AP score boundaries (determining how many composite score points equals what AP score)—takes place immediately after the Reading.
AP Exam scores are reported on a 5-point scale as follows:

5  Extremely well qualified*
4  Well qualified*
3  Qualified*
2  Possibly qualified*
1  No recommendation**

*Qualified to receive college credit or advanced placement
**No recommendation to receive college credit or advanced placement
During score-setting sessions (there is one for each AP Exam) composite scores are translated into AP scores by setting boundaries for each score based on a statistical technique called equating.
Equating relates an AP Exam from one year to an AP Exam from another year so that performance on the two exams can be compared. This is accomplished by looking at how well AP students performed on a set of multiple-choice questions that is common to both exams. These particular multiple-choice questions cover the curriculum content and represent a broad range of difficulty; they can therefore provide information about the ability level of the current group of students and indicate the current exam's level of difficulty. This same set of questions may show up on next year's AP Exam and the one after that too. That's why you aren't supposed to talk about or share the multiple-choice questions from the AP Exam with anyone; it's all because of equating!

 This excerpt is found on as seen above. I have been very conscious of the grading of APs for all of the years I have taken them and feel very differently about the grading scale. I have created my own scale and would like to share my thoughts with the world. It is not comparable to whether the student is properly qualified, I honestly believe the five point scale is based off of how much a student actually even cares about "college credits" that do not even count towards most colleges.

I shall begin my quest for mambo number five at the bottom with the 1. This student has no taste for the subject. He/she does not like it and the subject just does not like them. They are the student who got by in the year cheating off of someone or being complacent with that solid B. They honestly walked into the test and opened the book and just began to laugh. No preparation and no caring, but it is commenable that they paid the 87$ just so the AP process can continue and other students such as themselves can fail this test. Hey they don't have to go back to class, and the AP doesn't affect their grades, least they showed up exam day.

Number two is possibly the most unlucky of the bunch because regardless of whether they tried or not, they were that close to passing and pretending they know the subject matter. Hey I got a two on history and knew I didn't deserve the three, but it was pretty upsetting either way. The two presents a student who showed up, probably coasted through the year and put an attempt into the AP exam. They didn't pass, but they tried their best (hopefully) and can at least say "Least I didn't get a 1". Either way getting a 2 does not feel good at all. I'd probably rather get a one so at least I could pretend I answered zero questions.

LUCKY NUMBER THREE, hey they passed! qualified AP scholar right there. Too bad most colleges only accept 4s or 5s on most subject matters, but hey in the eyes of AP you are qualified. Must mean alot. So not much to say about this one except the student studied and put the effort in and maybe just passed. The parents are glad and the kids ain't sad. Its a comfortable score and is comendable because APs stink. PS I'll bet my life that half of these kids guessed and got lucky.

Number 4. This is a kid who studied and put hard effort into the class. Even if they didn't get that all glorifying five, they are pretty damn smart. A four guarranttees that the kid is well qualified. I mean I don't see the difference between a well qualified and extremely well qualified student, but AP has to still put a four down even when they passed with flying colors. You did good kid to get a four, but you ain't the best.

MAMBO NUMBER 5, they are the big cheeses, the brainiacs, the brain children. Sharp kids. probably minimum 94% in said class and are just naturally bright. I would say that most of these kids cared about the test enough to at least review. Also, that alot of them are lucky fours who guessed on those last three questions when time was running out. They are extremely well qualified to forget all the info the day after the test.

The grading needs to be modified to a 'caring' basis. This test does bring in knowledge, but the questions are so broad that it really comes down to who even cares about the subject the most to take the time. My thought is that 4s and 5s be combined and 1s and 2s. A 1,2,3 grading scaled bell curve. AP week better go by fast...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Blog #22 AP Stress

APs o APs are on their way,
neither here nor there can I stay,
I pace and pace and achieve none,
AYYY I feel accomplished with a one.

Study Study Study,
Can't stop listening to Kid Cuddie,
The attempt to read books out in the sun,
Is a failure in the eyes of this one.

Its raining and cold in late April,
The foreshadow for the terrible tests to come,
It feels like its time to tear open a staple,
And crush those packets to become alumn.

APs o APs why don't you go burn in hell,
Really this late in senior year?
I already give in ring the bell,
The next few weeks are coming near...

The day after APs there will be a loud cheer,
Cause then there will be nothing to fear!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Blog # 21 A Decent Proposal

So I was roaming my future college campus the other day when I noticed a very peculiar sight. It was not illegal, it wasn't hugely noticeably, nor dangerous in itself. As I continued on my expedition I noticed this phenomenon again and again. Those damn red plastic cups were everywhere! I am no Environmental buff, but I am pretty sure that red plastic cups don't dissolve in rain or pick themselves up! It was a serious issue in my eyes. And again when I saw a dumpster there were mountains of these red little devils just hanging out. Plastic doesn't go away.

The stereotypical college partier is generally a 18-20 year old male with an untouched shirt that is wrinkled with a red plastic cup containing liquid. The plastic cup totally masks the fact that a beer is contained within the walls of that red fortress of fun. Either way most college parties have a few essentials to begin, light snacks with chips and dip, the proper refreshments, ping pong balls, a beer tap, and generally Red Cups. For even my birthday party in eigtht grade I had to buy red cups to hold soda. They're just convenient. But, on a college campus where do these cups generally end up? In the trash where they'll sit and be transported to the dump and just sit there, or they will find their place outside on the streets cold and alone. My proposal involves a college noticing these facts and to somehow strike a profit from this easily countered situation. It promotes less pollution, and less plastic.

First, give people the incentive to collect these cups. A dollar for every fifty or so cups. Second, have easily accessible collection centers, aka the dining halls or main campus lobby. Third, Recycle those cups. Fourth, resell them to the general public at college centers for a less then market price. Easily done and it costs less for the college to pay workers to clean the campus. Winners all around.

Just think of the endless positive. Red cup classrooms, re cup phones! animals don't get their heads stuck in cups and die, and cash money for the college. Go Green or Go Home. Colleges need to recognize haha

But on the serious note, there was a lot of trash to be picked up, and solutions need to be made.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Blog #20 Why does authority work?

Again I am scorned by the cold touch of authority and the wondrous atmosphere that it puts me in. I just cannot get over the psychological trance that many are put in by a person of authority. One moment they could be bad mouthing a commander, then when the officer is present they are the finest of listeners. I just do not understand it. In my previous blog I discussed some positive and negative aspects a leader must emulate in order so gain respect, fear, or an aura of knowledge that wills a group into following the example pledged by the so called authority figure. Why did an entire nation persecute and kill millions of Jews during the Holocaust? Why do children feel the need to listen to their parents and adults?  Why does authority work?

I'll begin with my opinion concerning something as heinous and vile as the Holocaust. Obviously a combination of factors come into play in this regard. "The open door phenomenon", manipulation, and leading by example were some prime features as to why authority worked in this instance. Some called the children of Germany during the era the "Hitler's youth". In school they were imprinted with the idea that Jews were sou less beings that needed to be eradicated. While this was the key principle basic human ethics got the better of some children. Some people just can't kill, so the Nazis perfected the open door idea in which they made individuals take baby steps to becoming killers. In a quick example, lets say someone is being tortured. This first job of the individual would be to guard the door, second to guard with back to the tortured with the door open, next to face and watch the tortured while guarding the opened door, next to possibly restrain the tortured, next to maybe even perform of the torture themselves. Nazis developed this technique to create ruthless killers to put fear into the army and look to Hitler as a god. Hitler created his authority because he was able to manipulate and create his subjects. This authority worked through manipulation.
Fear. I know for myself when I was younger I listened to my parents and teachers out of fear. I was frightened to get spanked. No one likes the belt to the naked bottom, stuff hurts... alot... Kids don't have a huge amount of worries. They listen to their parents and then follow the rules simple as that. But, why do they follow the rules? They are scared of their parents, hell I almost pooped myself in kindergarten when I stole a little toy from class without realizing. I got home and told my mom and felt the worst I think I've ever felt. Over ten years down the line I still remember the fear I had telling my mother in the kitchen of our old house I had stolen a school possession. Fear sounds horrible, but it does help teach a young boy or girl how to behave correctly. This form of authority works and is constructive even if it sounds awful.

I've given two terrible examples, but authority also works in a laid back society as well. Take men's volleyball at st. mark's for example. We don't work very hard, we barely warm up for games, we don't even have practices on Fridays or weekends, and our huddles during a game consist of us trying to think of a good cheer. (We've shouted things like Leggo My Eggo, Too infinity and Beyond, Pound, Babs, Strocko, Winston, Four, Three... so on) We do all this, yet we win games? We are the team with by far the best chemistry in the state. Every one of us messes up sometimes and yet we all still smile and have fun. Why do we work? Because we have respect for our coach, and she has respect for us. She understands its the end of the year and that we don't care about school nor want to have the stress of a nagging coach. Stephanie Strocko is a great authority figure who understands us. All she gives us is a glare/ a swift comment here or there and that's all we need to keep in line. We honestly play for the fun of it while other teams pull their hair out for every point. Its awesome.

Why does authority work? It works for a multitude of reasons. Out of all three of the examples I went over I definitely know the third is the best mostly because we aren't literally killing people, and we aren't scared of anyone. What type of authority have you dealt with over the years?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Blog #19 Authority

It occurred to me the other day that authority sometimes acts in weird ways. Sometimes it’s a tool that is abused and others it is a tool to be utilized. I have been observing and wondering about different kinds of authority lately and this is what I have concluded. It is neither good nor bad, its just kind of there...

Executive Stuco
I’ll begin with some productive authority figures. Most people dislike her, and I know a huge amount of people who have made sour faces at her, behind her back, but I admire her for her perseverance and ability to get things done. This lady goes unnamed, but is respected and admired for the duties she performs. Hey everyone may not be the biggest fan, but what truly are her motives behind her bravado. I don’t think she hates kids nor do I believe she just likes our pain. I think she acts in the way she does to unite our class and eventually the entire school. Before this year school was great and I did not care for the lives of half my classmates. I went along thinking as long as I had my close friends we could get through anything. This year changed my view of that. New policies, half the girls at St. Marks receiving detentions, creating a three hour Saturday detention, being a dress code Nazi, and even yelling at Gene for certain things has really changed how our school operates. While people have strong feelings for her, she still gets things done and knows that by everyone holding her in not the grandest of fashions makes her a common enemy we will in turn all be united as a school against her new policies. She is a good family friend and I can even say that sometimes I just want to stand up at an assembly and clock her in the face when she screams quiet. And to say I liked not knowing half my new friends would be a complete lie. Outside of school she is the sweetest lady there is, at school you better have your shirt tail in or you're dead meat haha. She opened some minds to new things this year. Another productive authority figure is the teaching style of Mrs. Healey. Letting our class be run by us and for us seems pretty effective. I doubt anything would have been accomplished this year if we were not given the freedom to promote our own voices. So to say the first's uniting power and Mrs. Healey’s free spirit are two types of excellent authority is a pretty accurate statement. (I’m not being a kiss ass)

Some awful authority figures I have come into contact with include many rude teachers who take it upon themselves to belittle kids and do not care for anyone but themselves. I doubt I am allowed to name these teachers for the sake of my grade and for any of them reading this, but I will use a historical example instead. My most hated authority figure in the entire world of history has to be Adolf Hitler. He ruled out of fear and power. He brain washed children and killed millions of people. Regardless of his ruthlessness he is definitely a lot worse then the teachers I have dealt with. So I am going to make a modest proposal and relate the two. Adolf Hitler was the worst leader in the history of time because he demanded fear, showed zero compassion, created enemies, provoked allies, and killed millions. He ‘built’ a nation that was doomed to crumble. Like a teaching environment one has to be delicate and act accordingly to the people one comes into contact with. Hitler didn’t care to know his people; he just cared to get to his goal to destroy Jews and world domination. The bad teachers didn’t bother with the kids, and just wanted to reach the goal of having ‘taught’ their info (saying it out loud) and not worrying whether it went in one ear and out of the other nor if anything was actually retained. Awful authority is authority without feeling. If you don’t care for the people you deal with, then they in turn won’t care about you.

Authority sucks, but we need it.