An explanation of how your AP Psych tests will be graded.

Posted on September 11, 2018


I am very, very well aware that nearly a third of you have intermittent access to the textbook at best, and that some of you guys still can’t access any portion of the textbook or its materials at all.

I am also aware that this was a  large test over four units. I have never given a test like that and I did not enjoy giving a test like that. The reason that it had to be done was to prevent a snowball effect of work progressively piling up. We had to have a test other than the final exam, and at the rate we were headed the one test that we would have *would* be the final exam.

Because of the size of the exam and because of inequitable access to materials outside of the classroom, I’m doing something that I usually don’t do – I’m grading an AP Psych exam based on a modified AP Curve. What does that mean?

Well, to start with I used’s AP score calculator for 2018. I then assumed that everyone made an average score on each FRQ question (which was 3.3 for the first DBQ and 2.9 for the second), which I input into the score calculator. I fiddled with the sliders, and this is the score range:

  • Less than 45%: 1 (65%)
  • 46-57%: 2 (72%)
  • 58-73: 3 (75%)
  • 74-85: 4 (85%)
  • 86 and above: 5 (95%)

Each score is worth approx. the middle number in the corresponding grade range save for the 1 and 2.

I understand the shortcomings with this curving methodology (i.e. everyone may get a different amount of curve, the difference between a score of a two or a three correct answer wise and additional point wise aren’t much, etc), but this is how the College Board determines your grade. An exemption from a college class could be decided by whether or not you got one question wrong. This is why they just tell you your score, not the score breakdown. They’d rather not have a bunch of angry high-schoolers storming their front door with pitchforks and torches.

Moving forward, hopefully textbook access will become more consistent and a large test like this won’t be necessary again. Your next exam, Unit 5, will be tentatively scheduled for September 21st. It will be graded on a traditional grading scale.

If you’d like to review your test with me please make an appointment and I will be more than happy to sit down with you.