Capacity limits cause rescheduled AP exams

Sofie Zalatimo and Sophia Yang

Students in teacher Melissa Laptalo’s Advanced Placement English Language and Composition class take a practice AP exam in preparation for the approaching test on Friday. Some Palo Alto High School students will take their AP Language exams later than the primary testing date of Tuesday, May 10 due to capacity limitations and lack of proctor availability. “I think I have just a handful of students [testing late],” Laptalo said. “There’s not the capacity to administer the AP test to everyone who’s enrolled on the actual exam day.” (Photo: Sofie Zalatimo)

As a result of capacity and proctor limitations, Palo Alto High School is moving some students to later testing dates for their Advanced Placement exams.

According to Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson, some students with testing accommodations require individual testing locations and proctors, making it difficult to test all students on the same day. Given the large number of students taking tests, Berkson said it was impossible to accommodate all students at once.

“It’s a total numbers game,” Berkson said. “The junior class is the largest class in history, and the senior class is pretty big.”

According to Berkson, testing space on campus is limited, particularly with the pending relocation of administration as a result of the Tower Building renovation.

“We’ve started construction in the portables in preparation for the Tower Building project, so we’re losing some spaces there,” Berkson said. “There’s only so many nooks and crannies in this place [Paly] to test.”

Berkson said the class most affected is AP English Language and Composition due to its high enrollment.

AP English Language and Composition teacher Melissa Laptalo said she does not view the schedule change as an issue, especially since very few of her students were moved to the later date.

“I don’t know that anyone’s in a bad position,” Laptalo said. “I think the majority of my students are on the actual test day, and I think that’s probably great.”

Laptalo said she thinks having the majority of students take the exam on the regular testing date is preferable.

“If I were a student, I’d rather be in the regular first group,” Laptalo said. “I think there’s something communal about everyone sitting down around the country doing it all together.”

To avoid conflicts with finals, which seniors take one week before other students, Berkson said the administration avoided moving seniors to the later testing window.

“We tried to make sure the seniors were done,” Berkson said. “The second date is right around senior finals, so we definitely tried to get this out of the way.”