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College Board Changes AP Testing in Response to COVID-19

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

College Board has modified AP exams to include a 45-minute free-response question that will be taken by students from the comfort of their own homes. For students who do not have internet access in their home, College Board teamed up with Spectrum Wireless to provide students access.

The rubrics of some of the AP exams have also been modified. For example, the AP U.S. History Document-Based Question rubric has been modified to a ten-point grading scale rather than the original seven-point grading scale. This is so that students have a better opportunity to gain more points with their response.

Sophomore Eric Rojas states that he is “nervous and worried that I might oversleep and miss it.” However, there are makeups for the exam, just in case, students do miss the exam. Makeups will be held June 1-5.

Senior Maliyah Pope shows concern about the modified AP exams by stating, “I have to write a timed essay and I am a slow typer.” In response to concerns like this one, the College Board has made the decision to give students the option to either type or handwrite their responses in 45 minutes and then give an extra five minutes for students to upload their responses to the website.

As expected students have mixed feelings about the new format for AP exams. Senior Jose Anaya-Gomez shares, “It is really weird and so much different from what we’ve been learning for, but I guess it works.”

Senior Sereya Diaz shares, “I do not like it. It seems too complicated because what if my internet decides to not work, then I have to wait for the makeup exam in June which will probably be a lot harder.”

Junior Quetzalli Vargas states, “I prefer to take the exam at school rather than at home because I personally feel like I would focus better in a classroom. Plus, I get too easily distracted at home.”

On the other hand, a few students are actually thankful for taking the exam at home. For example, junior Alina Banuelos states, “I think it would be a plus for many students because they are able to study the specific topics that will be on the exam with their teachers' help rather than just trying to remember what they were taught throughout the whole year.”

Another student who is thankful for taking the exam at home is junior, Marbella Robles. She states, “I feel like it makes it a little easier and calmer on us because we are able to take the exam by ourselves in the comfort of our own home without a proctor and other students around us.”

Some teachers are hesitant about the new AP exams because they are worried students may be more inclined to cheat. For example, AP World History teacher Patrick Kimmons states, “Teachers are highly concerned about cheating. I think if kids are inclined to cheat, they would actually do worse because they would try to look up every answer instead of ones they did not know.” Although the exams are open notes/open book, the College Board has stated that the content of the exam questions are going to require students to “apply the information efficiently and correctly.”

Another teacher who shows concern about the current situation is AP European History teacher Mindy Montry. Montry states, “I think the AP scores are going to be lower because there are kids who do not have access to certain resources and need extra in-class help. With school closures, teachers are forced to stop teaching and now have to cancel all extra review sessions.”

With all this said, AP testing begins May 11 and ends May 22 with makeups taking place between June 1st through the 5th.

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