My Evil Plot to Sabotage the AP Curve

07/10/2012 09:13 am ET | Updated Sep 09, 2012

While I was losing sleep over the impending release of the AP test scores, I devised an evil plot to shift the curves in my favor. It's a complicated scheme that requires time and genius and money and fraud. Unfortunately, I can handle only three of those things, and so I'm not going to perform it. But for the sake of indulgence, I laid out the blueprints. Doing that required only time and genius.

The College Board's AP tests are graded on a curve, in which a range of scores is assigned each grade, ranging from 5 to 1 (comparable to the A-to-F system). Whereas 83 percent would normally be considered a B, or a 4, with the AP curve, which varies for every test and changes every year, depending on how well students do, it could be a 5, 4, 3, etc. Grading on a curve ensures that the scores are evenly distributed; it's impossible for everyone to get the same grade. This system benefits some and hurts others. But with the implementation of my evil plot, it would benefit everyone.

The plot is the result of a devilish overlap of two apprehensions, one over AP scores, the other over college acceptance. Because of the College Board's fees for sending scores to schools, I realized that colleges don't have to know that I took these tests at all. The Board would probably make more money, I thought, if students had to instead pay for them to *not* send the scores.

I then thought about failing, then pricey tutors, then how much money many parents are willing to spend to buy their children's scholastic success. And then, suddenly and magically, it happened. At the crossroads of the adjustable curve, the optional scores, and the prodigal parents, the evil plot unveiled itself.

Here's the idea: If a large group of the said parents were to pay many students who are not enrolled in a specific AP class, whom we'll call "dummies," to take and fail that test -- to get five percent correct, for example -- the curve would adjust to favor everyone else, by assigning them a higher score than they earned. This way everyone who cares about the test -- i.e., everyone but the dummies -- will do well, or at least better than they otherwise would. The dummies, of course, wouldn't send in their scores, leaving them with no harm and some money.

The scheme would have to be large-scale to be effective. And to be large-scale, it would require a huge sum of start-up capital. And whoever provides that initial cash would have the ability to make a ton of money, in the way a pimp or venture capitalist does. (Make your own joke here!)

The plot is, in an unconventional and undeniable way, cheating. And while it could be incredibly lucrative, it may also be incredibly illegal -- though I don't really know; I haven't learned laws yet.

The ideal candidate to execute my scheme would be a rich student who's a poor student, one with a skewed moral compass and demanding parents, someone who could be described as a Machiavillain. If you're out there, I wish you luck. I also wish you to take the same APs as me.


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