AP Exams Undergoing Drastic Change


Teacher helps student.

On March 20, 2020, the College Board’s “AP Central” posted on their website the announcement of significant changes being made to the administration of AP exams for the 2019-2020 school year. These changes are being brought upon due to the unprecedented challenges presented to high schools – as well as all schools in general across the world – by the novel coronavirus, which has been declared a National Emergency. One of the two services that the AP program is providing is the teaching, by free live streams on YouTube, of all AP courses; each day there will be a specific time when your AP class is being taught a lesson wherein you can join the live stream and learn or review that lesson. Another service the AP program is providing is the development of potential, at-home testing for all AP courses. Based upon the unpredictability regarding the longevity of the outbreak, and schools across the country remaining out of school and or completing distance learning make it nearly impossible for AP exams to be given in the usual format. “It’s clear the usual way AP exams are given at schools won’t be possible,” mentions the AP students link which gives their response to the COVID-19 outbreak on the College Board website. The College Board understands how tumultuous of a time it can especially be for teachers, students and parents in regards to education. In each AP course, the student will be given two test-date options for when they can take their AP exam; that information, as well as specific free-response questions for particular courses, will be revealed on April 3, 2020. 18,000 high school students would be surveyed by the College Board; when asked if they still wanted the opportunity to be examined this year, the answer was a “resounding yes” from 91% of students. If any AP student doesn’t wish to take their exam, they can currently unenroll from taking their exam at no additional charge. Only in the 2019-2020 school year, at this point, where students will be able to take a free-response, 45 minute exam from home; these exams can be taken on a computer, laptop, phone or tablet. Students also have the option to complete their exams by hand, and can submit one or as many photos as they would like of their work. The amount of content that would be featured on a student’s typical AP exam will be cut down to only what the expected AP student has learned in their course up to early March, where one or two units will be omitted from each course’s exam. For decades, when groups of students are dealing with national or world-wide emergencies, colleges have been accepting of students completing a shortened AP exam to receive college credit. The College Board urges families to call them if students do not have the technology at home to where they can most successfully complete their work. The College Board, in this process, is placing a wide emphasis on test security. The exams questions are being administered and prepared in a fashion that prevents cheating. To protect the integrity of the exams, the CB will be utilizing plagiarism-detectors and other digital security techniques when grading students’ exams this summer. The AP program isn’t fresh to the idea of online exams; their AP Capstone programs and their AP Computer Science Principles courses have been completed at-home and graded online for years. As one final message to any AP student that is stressed about taking their exam: you’re going to do fine. You’ve worked hard all year to take your exam, and that effort isn’t going to go to waste. Good luck to all 2019-2020 AP students taking your exams!