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Friday, August 27, 2010


For all students taking AP tests: starting in May 2011 (this school year), all tests will no longer have a guessing penalty. According to the College Board, "Total scores on the multiple-choice section will be based on the number of questions answered correctly. Points will no longer be deducted for incorrect answers and, as always, no points will be awarded for unanswered questions." To read the entire statement or view revised grading curves for past released exams, click here.

The reasoning behind this change and possible effects are still unknown. Yet this change poses several questions. Do the new changes in AP scoring actually disadvantage certain groups at the expense of others? Also, should blind guessing be allowed on exams that measure content mastery (as opposed to skill mastery)?


Students are the largest stakeholders in the educational system, and we, the undersigned student leaders of Montgomery County, would like to release a statement on behalf of the students regarding the upcoming elections. Approximately one in every five people in Montgomery County is a school-aged child - almost 20% of this county’s demographics. Yet we students have had historically minimal representation in the political process when compared to other groups of smaller size and scope. Although society places an incredible emphasis on education, it paradoxically overlooks the youth population during the political process. This ends now.

MCPS is home to more than 142,000 students. As student leaders, we will act in the best interests of each one of these students in order to promote the welfare of our school system as a whole. We have carefully analyzed the decisions and policies of our elected officials, and have a thorough understanding of which candidates have contributed significant legislation to education. This past year has been fiscally challenging for the school system, and we hope that during this next year and the ones that follow, we will be able to maintain the world-class quality of education within MCPS. Although we will not officially endorse specific candidates in any race, these elections will have a significant impact on our education for years to come. We are paying close attention to the races and are extremely sensitive to the current political climate.

In the spirit of increasing political advocacy, we are also encouraging all eligible students in Montgomery County to register to vote in the coming months. Through collaboration with local student leaders we hope to coordinate an early voter registration drive in schools at the beginning of the school year.

We applaud the students of Montgomery County for their advocacy and encourage them to continue promoting student involvement in important issues. This election is an important step towards a new future for education and student empowerment; we are proud to be taking that step together, as a community, as a county, and as students of MCPS.

Mr. Alan Xie
Student Member, Board of Education

Mr. Daniel Arias 
President, Montgomery County Region

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summer 2010

Hello, everyone! It's the last week of summer, and school's about to start. Here's a brief update on what's happened since school ended:
  • Stephen N. Abrams, a three-term Board of Education member, passed away on August 1st. His passion for education has created a lasting impact on MCPS, and he will be commemorated by the Board of Education at their next meeting, on August 26th. I offer my deepest sympathies to Mr. Abrams’ wife, family, and friends. 
  • Dr. Jerry Weast, superintendent of MCPS, has announced that he will retire at the end of his current contract, on June 30th, 2011. Dr. Weast has made remarkable achievements during his tenure, and is the second-longest serving superintendent in MCPS history. To read his memorandum to the Board of Education regarding this, click here.
  • Maryland is among ten winners in Phase 2 of the "Race to the Top" education grant initiative, winning $250 million in federal grants. The other winners are D.C., Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island. The two Phase 1 winners were Delaware and Tennessee. 
  • Last week, I attended New Board Member Orientation at MABE (the Maryland Association of Boards of Education). I met almost all of the other SMOBs/SROBs from other counties in Maryland, as well as the state SMOB. We hope to achieve a lot this year through our continued collaboration.
  • With the arrival of school also comes the fall elections. Youth are playing a larger role in today's politics, and I encourage all eligible youth to register to vote and participate in the political process.
There's still time to apply for the SMOB Council! Once again, detailed descriptions of each staff's responsibilities are here, and the application is here.

Good luck to everyone with their new school year! I hope to see as many students as possible this year during school visits, SGA events, and the like.