It’s one big perk of taking a tougher class: San Diego teens who get a B in an Advanced Placement class can get the same credit on their report card as for an A in an ordinary class, as long as they take the Advanced Placement exam.

Now San Diego Unified may stop requiring teens to take that test to get the grade boost, but keep giving them higher grades for just taking the Advanced Placement class in the first place.

Why the change? The budget.

San Diego Unified plans to stop paying for the exams next school year to save nearly $700,000. It had just started paying for the exams last school year, part of an initiative by former Superintendent Terry Grier to encourage more students to take AP classes and tests.

But the school board decided this year that in a budget crunch, it couldn’t keep shouldering the cost. Kids whose families are poor enough to qualify for free meals can get the fee waived, but others have to pay.

That posed a new problem: If kids had to pay for the exams to get a higher grade, some kids would be at a disadvantage in getting a grade bump. Illegal fees for school activities have already been in the spotlight this year, thanks largely to parent activist Sally Smith.

So San Diego Unified is recommending that the school district stop requiring the exam to get the higher grade. Instead, teens would get a higher grade simply for taking an Advanced Placement class. The school board will vote on the idea next Tuesday.


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