The show must go on: AP testing to be administered online in wake of the coronavirus

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Following the cancellation of in-person classes for the rest of the school year, the College Board has adjusted this year’s Advanced Placement exams to accommodate the new circumstances. All exams, excluding classes that require a portfolio, will be administered online and will last for 45 minutes. As recently announced by the College Board, the NYC DOE will offer all AP exams free of charge to public schools. In addition to the new formatting, the schedule of exams has been adjusted to take place over the weeks of May 11 and May 18. Make up exams for the APs will take place on a test-by-test basis throughout the first week of June. Students and faculty expressed varying opinions about the way this year’s exams are being given. 

The tests will only consist of material that all AP classes should have covered by March when many schools around the country began to close. “I understand why they made the changes; it’s good that they took out the content that we wouldn’t have been learning,” said sophomore Avani Seelall. 

AP U.S. History teacher Charlene Levi said, “[The] College Board made the right decision in allowing students the opportunity to take the exams this year.  It would have been shameful to throw out the entire year of hard work that some students have put into being prepared for the exam.”

Though the content has been limited to ensure fairness, many have expressed concerns about the effectiveness in the exams’ abilities to evaluate understanding of exam topics. Senior Adamary Felipe explained, “The style of the AP exams this year seem a lot more confusing and I feel like they won’t accurately represent what students have learned throughout the year.” 

AP Psychology teacher Shi Bing Shen agreed, “because the exams are limited to one or two of the FRQs, they really cannot test a lot of the content.” 

Moreover, students and teachers alike have both expressed wariness as a result of the College Board’s lack of explanation regarding the new exams. Junior Cynthia Hardy said, “I’m a little uneasy since I’m not even sure what it’ll look like electronically.” 

AP English Language teacher Christine Duffy added, “I wish that the College Board rescored more past questions using their new rubric so that students have more models of College Board expectations.  Unfortunately, they’ve only scored two past questions with the new rubric.”

Though there are concerns about test day, students and teachers are all working to prepare for exams. Adamary explained, “My teachers have been mainly posting practice questions and setting a review schedule for their students. It keeps me paced and teachers are doing their best to answer questions and explain.”

Ms. Shen encouraged her students to “watch the review videos the College Board has uploaded to YouTube to go over some of the topics they learnt earlier.”

The College Board released a guide to this year’s exams which covers information on your exam ticket, steps to take before the exam, information about exam day, scoring, and credit. In the final week before the AP Exams begin, The College Board AP YouTube channel has also released several timed exams which provide accessible practice questions more similar to this year’s format. Despite the coronavirus situation, THHS students and teachers persevere and continue their preparations for the 2020 AP exams. 

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