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The City Journals

Bingham High Student Earns Perfect Score on Exam

May 05, 2016 02:41PM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

South Jordan - Before Tanner Harrison graduated last June, he earned 100 percent on his advanced placement microeconomics exam last spring. Recently, results were publicly announced.

“I knew he would do well, but I didn’t know he’d get a perfect score,” said his AP teacher Kevin Moritz. “I’ve only had one other student earn a perfect score.”

The other student was Joel Howarth in 2013.

Harrison was one of 54 students in the world to earn every point possible on the AP microeconomics exam last spring. Of the 4.5 million exams taken by 2.5 million U.S. public high school students in 2015, only 322 students earned every point possible on an AP exam.

AP exams are based on a five-point scale, where 5 is the equivalent to an A in the corresponding college course. Harrison received that top score.

“AP courses and exams are college level, and require hard work and focus on the part of students and their teachers,” said Trevor Packer, senior vice president of AP and instruction at the College Board. “On behalf of the College Board, we congratulate the students and community members who make challenging coursework and focused practice a priority, and who motivate and encourage all students to capture their academic potential.”

Moritz is a strong believer in his course mirroring the college experience.

“On the first day of class, they’ll learn this is one of the most important classes they’ll take and how they’ll need to teach themselves and learn from one another. In college, we network from other people in our classes and this is no different. I give them more responsibility. I want them to explain the concepts, talk it out. They can’t rely on me. I’m their teacher, but it’s up to them to learn it and do it themselves,” he said.

Moritz said that through the class curriculum, students will learn about issues such as the federal reserve, recession, national debt, wasteful spending, bonds, supply and demand, inflation, customer preference and functions of the government.

“It’s easy to accept what is thrown in front of you, but I want them to look at both sides of the issue and and realize there isn’t always a clear-cut answer. This [is] what they’ll be doing in college and this is a college class,” he said.

Moritz said he makes his unit tests harder than the actual AP exam.

“I want it so when they sit down to take the exam, it seems easy so they don’t panic,” he said.

The AP test includes about 50 multiple-choice questions. Two short essays and one extended essay. Students may need to include several graphs to demonstrate their knowledge.

At Bingham, Moritz teaches microeconomics one term and macroeconomics another.

“Micro concentrates on the individual consumer, firms and government and their relationship while macro looks at the whole country and its finances, stocks, gross national product, trade and such,” he said.

If students receive at least a 3 or higher on each exam, they receive six hours of college credit.

Moritz said that he knew both Harrison and Haworth would receive 5s on the exam.

“I knew they are both hardwire students who can take the information and run with it, but I’m shocked at perfect scores. When I learned Joel got it, I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ With Tanner, I thought, ‘What in the world?’ It’s 80 percent them and only 20 percent me producing them with study guides, study sessions and going over book material. But they’re both students I gave more responsibility to. I asked them to explain concepts and teach others in simple terms. If they can talk it out, they can remember the concepts and apply them,” he said