Time for a shower – Trevor Packer’s spin

June 18, 2024

Insidious. Disingenuous. Creepy. Propaganda. Makes me feel like I want to shower.

You choose your own adjective or phrase to describe Trevor Packer’s most recent tweet regarding the AP Chemistry Score distributions. Firstly, here’s the tweet.

What the tweet omits is that in 2023 (and presumably in 2024 too), the grade boundary for a 3 was lowered to approx. 38%. In the approximate decade that preceded 2023 the grade boundary for a 3 was typically somewhere in the range of 46-50%. The effect on AP Chemistry scores can be seen in the table below. Look at these kids ‘demonstrating mastery’. PLEEEEEAAASSSSEEEE … this is actually insulting to people’s intelligence.

Year % of students scoring 1 or 2
2024 25.0
2023 25.0
Grade boundaries changed to make a 3 approx. 38%
2022 47.3
2021 49.0
2020 44.9
2019 45.4
2018 44.1
2017 47.6
2016 46.4
2015 46.6
2014 47.2

The tweet infers that the data show increased ‘mastery’, when in reality it’s LITERALLY the opposite. Can you imagine having a job, where a large part of what you do is to spin information like this? I think I’ll take that shower.



  1. TheycallitTheFirm

    What makes it especially bad is that ETS (for all its flaws) has extensive expertise in psychometrics. I.e. they know how to differentiate between the test changing, the standard changing, and the population performance changing (which is non trivial), very well.

    Then again this guy is just a mouthpiece blowhard. Like Common Core McKinsey CEO neoliberal boy (I know the type).

    • Adrian

      Of course, but to be fair to Packer his job is NOTHING to do with education, it’s to grow market share, revenue, test-taker numbers and other, measurable metrics that relate to $. In that regard none of us are surprised, but I’m gonna call-out all the bullshitters.


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