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- Mainland High School in Volusia County, Florida, gave 336 students fake Advanced Placement exams because the district didn’t have funds to pay for the real thing.
- Exams for the AP Seminar course cost $142 each, and the district couldn’t pay $58,788 to cover all of the exams.
- Instead, 336 of the students were given last year’s exam, while 78 students were given the official 2019 exam, costing the district only $11,000.
- Students didn’t know the exam was fake until after real AP scores were posted online, according to Click Orlando.
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Officials in a Florida school district were reprimanded after 336 high school students were given a “placebo” Advanced Placement exam when the district didn’t have funds to pay for the real thing.
Students who took the test, from Mainland High School in Volusia County, didn’t know the exam – which, if official, could have resulted in earning college credits – was fake until after real AP scores were posted online, according to Click Orlando.
Mainland High School’s principal Cheryl Salerno and the district’s former chief academic officer Teresa Marcks received a “strong letter of reprimand” from the district’s Office of Professional Standards but have yet to face other disciplinary action, the News-Journal reported.
The Department of Education’s investigation into the incident revealed that Salerno wanted 414 freshmen to be exposed to an AP Seminar course, but did not have the $60,000 funding it would have cost to cover the official exams for all of the students.
Although it is not a district policy, if students take AP courses in the Volusia County School District, the district pays for exams.
Instead of paying for all 414 AP Seminar exams, 336 of the students were given last year’s exam. Just 78 students were given the official 2019 exam. It’s unclear how the 78 students were chosen.
Exams for the AP Seminar cost $142 each, according to the Collage Board. With 414 students, that would cost $58,788. With only 78 students taking the actual exam, the district instead paid $11,076.
“My intention was never to ‘dupe’ anyone nor do I believe anyone has been ‘victimized’ – I wanted accurate data by having all students do their best throughout this course,” Salerno wrote in a statement to investigators seen by the News Journal.
Interim Superintendent Tim Egnor said in a statement to the News Journal that the AP Seminar course will be discontinued at Mainland.
“The fact that the students and parents were unaware that not all students would be offered an opportunity to take the official AP exam cannot be justified, and must be addressed to the benefit of the students,” interim Superintendent Tim Egnor said in a statement to the News Journal.
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