College board to offer at home free-response AP exams

College board puts plans into place on how to allow students to test for AP credit amidst the coronavirus.

March 20, 2020

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Illustration by Courtney Krebs

College Board has adapted how testing will be administered for the 2019-2020 school year due to the unforeseen circumstances the coronavirus presents. Traditional face-to-face exams will be replaced with at home online free-response exams, according to College Board. 

Exams will only cover topics and skills taught by most AP classes by early March in order to deal with the instructional time lost due to coronavirus school cancellations, College Board said. Further, colleges support this solution and are willing to take these shortened exams results as college credit.

According to College Board, students will be able to take exams on a computer, tablet or smartphone and will also have the option to submit a photo of handwritten work. To prevent cheating with at home tests, College Board said they will use a variety of digital security tools and plagiarism detection software.

The entire exam schedule and free response question types will be made available by April 3 along with all testing details on the AP Central website. Additionally, live AP review courses will be free to stream to allow students extra preparation for their tests.

There will be two testing dates for each exam allowing students to take the exam when it is the best fit for them. College Board said they are also permitting students who have already registered for an exam the ability to cancel at no charge.

In response to these changes, senior Rohan Chinalachaiagari said he still plans on taking four AP exams but worries about how a 45 minute test will accurately assess learning.

  “[The test] is not able to cover all the material and instead is almost like a hit or miss for students,” Chinalachaiagari said. “There might be a specific topic they feel really strong in or something they’re not too comfortable with.”

Chinalachaiagari also said he wonders how cheating will be avoided due to the test being at home, but believes College Board is working on preventative measures.

“I kind of think it’s unfair for those who genuinely prepared a lot for this exam, and they get the same score as someone who may have not put as much effort throughout the year in learning the material, but because of all the resources they have, they’re able to score just as high,” Chinalachaiagari said.

Despite the uncertainties, Chinalachaiagari said he still believes that at home testing is the best option in order to prevent spreading of the coronavirus and ensure everyone’s safety. 

“With Covid-19, spreading out at a record pace and how easy it is for someone to get infected, it’s a really important decision that they make sure everyone’s staying at home taking the test, instead of being in a large group,” Chinalachaiagari said.

Junior Brynn Stasiulis, who still plans on taking AP exams, shares similar concerns with Chinalachaiagari. While she said she agrees with the decision to move online she is nervous about how everything will work.

“I don’t know how they’re gonna deal with people who want to cheat or people whose Internet goes out or their computer doesn’t work. There are a lot of ways in which it can go really poorly,” Stasiulis said. “I just think we’re lacking a lot of information right now since we just learned about it yesterday, but I’m still really scared and it’s uncertain times, but that kind of has added to the uncertainty.”

Stasiulis said she will likely use some of College Board’s resources, but will focus mostly on talking to teachers and studying the information she’s learned throughout the year.

“I probably will [use College Board’s resources] once it gets closer to AP testing time, and especially since we’ll have all the time just sitting at home,” Stasiulis said. “But for the most part, I think I’ll just stick with, like studying the material that I’ve learned in class and using all my notes.”

Filed on March 20 at 9:10 p.m. and updated on March 23 at 1:34 p.m.

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