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Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver
Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver talks with students and teachers about concerns over AP testing because of schooldays lost to snow.
The College Board is leaving the door open to the possibility of adjusting Advanced Placement testing dates for school districts impacted by winter weather closings and delays.
Students and teachers are feeling the pressure to cram ahead of the May test dates.
The recent winter weather has forced schools in the area to close several times. In Fairfax County, they've had 10 snow days and eight delayed openings. That's left far less time for teachers to prepare their students.
"There's a going to be a rather intense attempt to catch up on all of those snow days," Fairfax High School AP U.S. History teacher Richard French said.
Teachers say part of the problem is Virginia's so-called "Kings Dominion law," which requires school to begin after Labor Day each year.
"It's difficult on a normal basis every year because we start two weeks behind the rest of the country with that same test date locked in," French said.
Fairfax County School Board member Megan McLaughlin has two sons taking AP classes.
"[It] absolutely raises the anxiety level for, I think, our students and our teachers on how do we make up that lost ground and time because of that hard and fast May testing date," she said.
She's worried about students' workload as they cram for the exam.
"Does this mean they stay up an extra hour and really go past midnight and have fewer hours of sleep during the school week? Does it spill over into their weekends where they're already juggling homework and extracurriculars?" she asked.
Even some students acknowledge the tense environment.
"The time taken away for snow days, though we students love it and we love having that time to relax, sometimes we need to be in the classroom and we know that," high school senior Will Ashe said.
The pressure of preparing for AP exams is not coming from the administration or school system. Teachers and students say it's just part of the stressful college admissions culture.
The College Board sent News4 the following email.
"The College Board is in the process of assessing the impact of significant school closures due to winter weather conditions on Advanced Placement programs in affected areas. We will share any testing updates with schools before the 2014 exam ordering deadlines."