Exams extinguish environment


We have all seen the disturbing images of plastic islands floating in the ocean, one of which is larger than the state of Texas. But it is even harder to imagine that the tests students take at school are contributing to this disaster. The amount of waste created by AP and standardized tests is absolutely disgusting and a hate crime on the environment.

After I finished my AP Lang test, I flipped to the back of the multiple choice booklet, to find six blank pages with the words, ‘There is no testing material on this page.’ I was toward the back of the old gym and I turned around and saw there was about 160 students taking this exam. Just in the old gym alone, that equals 1000 pieces of paper that served no purpose. With thousands of AP Lang tests administered across the nation, massive amounts of paper were wasted on this one test alone.

I also took the APUSH and AP Psychology tests, all of which had an FRQ portion. After opening the shrink-wrapped exam, it was a bit alarming the find the FRQ booklet to be shrink wrapped as well. Logically it makes some sense. The CollegeBoard wants to ensure that students do not open the test until the correct time. But when students took the FCAT back in elementary school, the test was sealed by a little perforated plastic tab. The shrink wrap seems unnecessary, and it was a bit disturbing to watch all the plastic to be tossed in the trash. Shrink wrap is not regularly recycled and requires fossil fuels to produce, which generates greenhouse gases that affect climate change.

The school’s decision to have recycling bins across campus and boxes in every classroom is a great step forward. But I watched in disbelief as proctors threw packing list papers into the trash can. These same people who made the decision to place recycling bins were the same ones tossing paper after paper into the garbage.

The obvious solution to this dilemma is for these tests to become digitized. But without the ability to annotate freely on tests, many students would be angered by this. Simple changes like not printing excess pages and using recycling bins would save so much waste. Although it may cause an inconvenience, students can contact CollegeBoard here, filing a complaint about their lack of empathy toward the environment. Help CollegeBoard become aware of their issues, and help them to make a change.