By Grace Afsari Mamagani, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, February 5, 2010
Although the number of students taking Advanced Placement tests has risen dramatically in recent years, an increasing number of students are failing the exams, receiving a score of less than two of five, USA Today reported on Thursday. The number of AP exams administered has increased by 1.8 million in the past ten years, according to USA Today. Of the 2.9 million exams administered last year, 41.5 percent earned failing scores, up from 36.5 percent in 1999. The failure rate for Southern states was particularly high, at 48.4 percent of all tests taken. The statistics may indicate that many schools are administering AP exams to students without adequate preparation, according to Linda Darling-Hammond, a teacher-quality expert at Stanford University. According to USA Today, students are often pressured into taking AP classes and exams by the prospect of weighted grades and monetary incentives. Failure rates are expected to continue to increase as more students sign up to take AP exams, USA Today reported.
Postdoctoral researchers at the University of Massachusetts’ Boston, Dartmouth and Amherst campuses have decided to unionize, according to South Coast Today. Nearly 300 researchers filed a petition on Wednesday with the state Division of Labor Relations to unionize under the representation of the United Auto Workers. Admittance to the union would allow them to better negotiate for fair compensation and benefits in their contracts, UMass Dartmouth chemistry researcher Yibin Wei told South Coast Today. The researchers, who hope to receive union rights similar to those held by other faculty members, are the first postdoctoral researchers in Massachusetts to choose to unionize, South Coast Today reported. Postdoctoral researchers are hired individually by professors at the universities to conduct research, write grant proposals and write articles.
New Hampshire’s House Environment and Agriculture Committee is considering a bill that would honor apple cider as the official state drink, WMUR reported Thursday. The movement started when elementary school students at Jaffrey Grade School lobbied state Rep. Bonnie Mitchell, D-Jaffrey, to propose the legislation, according to The Eagle Tribune. Some students at other grade schools, however, are promoting milk instead of cider because students drink it every day, The Eagle Tribune reported. If the legislation passes, New Hampshire, which does not currently have a state drink, would be the first state to make apple cider its official drink, whereas milk is the official drink in 19 states. The bill may also have implications for local farms that produce either apple cider or milk, as the legislation could boost sales. Those in favor of apple cider argue that the bill could result in increased sales of the beverage, benefiting apple growers, but the choice of milk could support dairy farmers who have recently been struggling to bring in profits.