During the 2013 AP Language semester exam, numerous students found a copy of the exam online prior to taking it and, upon discovering it was the exact exam they would be taking, they distributed and used this exam to study, which, of course, is cheating. Originally, these students were to get zeros for the tests which would affect semester grades. For example, students who got an A both quarters would get a B, students who went A, B would get a B. However, things have changed.
Though Assistant Principal John Taylor refused to comment on the matter, reportedly around spring break there was a meeting and the punishment was changed. It is not evident whether the decision came from MCPS or CHS administration. The punishment became, instead of giving students a zero, the grades were to go on trend, which is to say, if someone goes A, B, they get a B. If someone goes B, A, they get an A.
This is where trouble arises.
When following normal MCPS rules, the only way to get an A after going B, A is to get an A on the exam. If one were to go B, A, E (in accord with the punishment the students initially would have gotten) they would get a B. By putting the students on trend, some are actually being rewarded for cheating.
This presents the question, why change the punishment? Students who did well in the class during the semester would still receive a B which, though not ideal, is still an acceptable grade. It gets the point across without destroying GPAs.
The only glaring reason for changing the punishment is to make the school look better. AP Lang is a top class which means top students grades suffered as a result of this. When looking at a chunk of students and seeing their grades all take a similar dip, it reflects poorly on the school.
By putting the grades on trend, some will benefit, some will not, but there will still be a lot of A’s. This is unfair, as the original punishment allowed for nothing higher than a B.
Students who worked hard for their grade now get to see some of their classmates who did not try as hard and maybe even got the same grades as them during the semester, either remain on level or excel past them.
Students should get what they deserved. If a student did not put in the work to study or actually try, he or she does not deserve a grade. There should be no special circumstances or breaks given.
Students involved in the scandal who were asked for a comment all declined to say anything about their thoughts on the punishment they received.
By putting the grades on trend, it conveys two bad ideas in one: hard work does not necessarily pay off because there are just shortcuts, and when you make a mistake, you should try to cover it up instead of owning up to it.
Students will no longer want to work hard if those who deserve zeros do not feel the blow of the punishment, leaving the door cracked for more cheating scandals.