Starting Feb. 5, students have been purchasing the Advanced Placement (AP) tests they are planning to take in May later this year. Until Wednesday, March 5, most AP tests cost $115 per test, $5 more than last year’s price of $110. Certain tests — AP Chinese and AP Japanese — cost $145. From March 6-19, AP tests cost $145. Although the prices seem exorbitant on the surface, as many students take one if not more than one test, resulting in spending hundreds of dollars, a deeper look into the breakdown of the cost justifies the high price the administration tagged onto these tests.
Palo Alto High School and Henry M. Gunn High School both charge the same price for consistency, so the administrators from both schools work together in determine a uniform costs: Assistant Principal Victoria Kim from Palo Alto High School and Assistant Principal Trinity Kline from Henry M. Gunn High School.
While determining the price the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) high schools charge for AP tests, the administrators from both schools must account for all the preparation and transaction costs: the cost College Board charges per test as well as costs for the webstore-transaction fees, processing, setting up and paying for proctors. Just the test from the College Board itself costs $89. The administration spends the other $26 to subsidize the other categories. In the end, the administration either breaks even or is close to breaking even; the money left over, which is not much, goes back to student funds, thus returning to the students.
The main cost outside of the test itself — in the $26 — is for paying for proctors to administer every single AP test, and the schools themselves have little control of the cost of the proctors. Palo Alto High School and Henry M. Gunn High School must search for out-of-school personnel to proctor the test, unlike schools that use their faculty members. PAUSD schools hire both in-district and out-of-district workers to proctor the AP tests. The pay for proctors is preset by the district, as when the personnel are hired by the schools to become proctors, they officially become district employees.
Although the prices for AP tests are high, higher than many other schools, the Palo Alto High School administration has justification for charging students over $100 per test: having to subsidize categories that other schools do not or have alternative methods of tackling. The administration has been working hard to organize and facilitate the AP test process, taking caution to make the whole testing process go smoothly.

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