AP testing: the quarantine way

Hannah Kim, Editorial Board Member

Say goodbye to paper and pencil, this year’s AP tests are online… and at home?

With the coronavirus cancelling many events and gatherings, important things such as the AP exams have been modified so that they still may run. 

The College Board has recently announced that all AP tests would now be a 45-minute FRQ.  The tests will be held online at home between May 11-22 or June 1-5. Students may also take the test on paper and then send the test to the College Board.  For AP classes like Art, the test, which is a portfolio of 15 pieces of artwork, will be cut to 10 pieces. These submissions will be due by May 26th. This decision left a lot of students confused and worried. 

“At first, I was nervous because this is something new and everything was up in the air. I still don’t know how it will go but,  at least now more questions have been answered, ” sophomore Dominique Visperas said. 

COVID-19 has cut many students’ time from school, making it hard for students to learn everything that was supposed to be tested. The College Board has stated that students will not be tested on everything that was required before quarantine. Still,  these changes have left many students asking if this decision is beneficial. Online, many people have been outraged, wondering if a 45-minute exam should determine whether someone could get college credit. 

“We can still take the test and get credit, which is great, but I don’t think just the FRQ can accurately represent the score that some students may or may not deserve, ” senior Jasmine Le said. 

In addition to these worries, many students have questioned whether this new at-home test is fair. Due to COVID-19, a lot of students do not have access to WiFi or a computer, which posed a question of equity. In response to that, The College Board has announced that students may use any device they have access too including tablets and smartphones. They also stated that they will be willing to provide resources for students who need them before the test.  

Students have also been concerned about cheating that might take place with the exam being at home. However, cheating should be limited according to the College Board, due to their comprehensive and set protocols to prevent cheating. These include: Plagiarism detection  software, student identity verification, and student work provided to educators after testing. The test will be open note, however, students are not permitted to consult with each other during the test. Students who cheat will have their scores cancelled and their schools will be notified. 

“Ultimately, there is no way to prevent people from talking to each other, and there will be a lot of people tempted to do so. I’m a little  worried about how that might impact scores,” Visperas said. 

Despite internet pushback, the College Board continues to move on with its plan to keep the AP exams running this year. They have also  since offered online live streams for students to catch up on the things they might have missed due to quarantine. 

While some are upset with the changes made to the AP test, others are grateful that the tests are still running, giving them an opportunity to receive the credits they’ve worked for. Colleges are still expected to accept credit from students with qualifying scores. 

“I think the College Board is doing the best it can. Hopefully this online test thing will go well,” Le said.