The Russian AP Score Report: How it is Calculated, Implications for College Placement of Entering Freshmen

Camelot Marshall, American Councils

The Russian AP Examination is intended for secondary school students who have completed academic work in Russian language and culture equivalent to advanced-level college-level Russian courses. Both traditional and heritage learners are encouraged to take the Russian AP Program and Examination, a standards-oriented, advanced-level program, which can enrich students of all backgrounds in understanding Russian culture and furthering language proficiency.

Given the absence of prior College Board testing in the Russian field and because the AP Russian Examination is designed to provide a set of measurements of functional proficiency in Russian, the target level for the exam is based on performance data of post-second and post-third year students of Russian at American colleges and universities. Following analyses of the data, the intermediate-level proficiency range (low, mid, or high) in each of the four modalities is the typical operational level for undergraduate non-beginning students of Russian, with no prior study of Russian in high school. Few students remain at the Novice level, and few succeed in reaching the Advanced level (except in reading) without substantial study abroad in Russia. The Russian AP skill-specific tests probe systematically at different proficiency levels and necessarily include items that are above or below the presumed target.

In order to maintain the comparability between AP proficiency scores, exam grades, and performance in a comparable college course, ACTR field-tests the pilot exams in second- and third-year Russian language programs at colleges and universities. The pilot exam formats are also field-tested at high schools participating in the pilot program. The data collected are analyzed using classical test analyses in order to address test reliability and using a traditional approach to address issues of validity. This paper will present the field-test results, correlations among exam sections, and the validity and reliability of the new AP Russian Exam. Using sample score data, these studies allow the proposed AP grade boundaries to be compared with student performance at the Intermediate level of proficiency.