Mainland H.S. Officials Reprimanded For 'Placebo' AP Tests


Daytona Beach, FL - Investigation documents into the use of 'placebo' AP exams released by Volusia County Schools show that two Mainland High School administrative officials have received letters of reprimand in relation to the incident.

In documents released this morning (July 15), Mainland Principal Cheryl Salerno and the district’s former Chief Academic Officer Teresa Marcks both received letters from the district’s Office of Professional Standards that stated they acted “inappropriately and/or unprofessionally” and are guilty of violating professional conduct standards.

The reprimand letters also state that "the AP Seminar teachers were told not to tell the students they were taking school level tests that would not count for possible college credits. The letters state that Marcks approved the assessment plan by Salerno to test 90 or fewer students using the College Board's AP Seminar exam while nearly 340 students took a school level exam that would not result in college credit.

The Volusia County School District is not commenting at this time but Volusia United Educators President Elizabeth Albert said she would like a public statement from the district or the school board absolving the teachers who administered the tests.

Albert said the teachers involved voiced concerns from the beginning but were basically told to do things the way they were told. Sometime in the middle of the school year, the three teachers were told to each pick one of their classes that would take the real test. That added up to about 90 students taking the college credit class with almost 340 students taking a test that would not result in college credit.

When asked about the three teachers that taught the AP Seminar classes, Volusia County School Board Chair Carl Persis said his understanding is that the teachers are held harmless as they were doing what they were told to do.

A remedy for the students is in the works, according to Persis. He said they made certain with the College Board that the plan is in line with established practices and got their approval before proceeding.

The district will contact each participating parent/student outlining an opportunity to enroll in an elective Research course. The standards for this course will be addressed by incorporating the basic content of the AP Seminar course as well as other support features.

Persis said that each family will be informed if they were part of the group who took the AP exam or were part of the much larger population who took the school sponsored end-of-course exam. They will then make a decision regarding participation in the Research course which comes with an opportunity to take the AP exam in May of 2020.



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