The College Board recently released new details concerning how Advanced Placement (AP) exams will be administered this year.
AP exams will take place from May 3-May 14. The College Board will provide digital exams to each student, and if in-person learning were to occur, exams can be taken in classrooms as well. Formats for different exams have also changed, including fewer questions for humanities, math, and science subjects, new platforms for the language exams, and no portfolios for the arts.
Along with changes to testing accommodations, if a student were to cancel or miss their exam, no fee would be charged this year.
Before schools were closed due to COVID-19, students were scheduled to take AP exams in-person in May. However, after schools shut down in March 2020, students took shortened versions of the AP exams remotely at home. With high schools being either fully remote or blended this year as well, the College Board has reported new changes for the 2021 exams, similar to those of last spring.
Some students explained that taking their AP exams at home is not ideal. “I’m kind of nervous about taking an AP exam at home because I have technical difficulties, background noises, and unstable WiFi at times, which could possibly disrupt the way I take the test,” said sophomore Chayti Biswas. However, Chayti added that the knowledge that others have taken AP tests at home last year and that the College Board has previously been successful with these same changes gives her “some reassurance.”
Junior Katelin Chen, who took the AP World History exam last spring, said that she felt the College Board “did the right thing for not only waiving fees for students who cannot afford taking AP exams but making remote exams with shortened questions.” She hopes that since the AP exams will be under the same circumstances as spring 2020, they “end up successful for every student.”
“I think that it is the responsibility of the College Board to consider not only the health and safety of all students but also the interruptions in education that students across the country have experienced since March 2020,” said AP World History teacher Frank Spitaleri. He also added that he supports the decisions the College Board has made, as not only students but teachers have had difficulties with a rigorous course load in the midst of remote learning. “[The College Board] should ensure that this year’s batch of AP exams reflect these unusual circumstances so that students have a fair chance of earning an impartial score to the best of their ability,” Mr. Spitaleri said.