Amidst questions from teachers and students alike, Collegeboard recently released their decision regarding this year’s advanced placement (AP) exams. Rather than settling on just one testing method, Collegeboard decided to offer a variety of options, from completely virtual to hybrid to regular in-person exams. This decision shows Collegeboard’s commitment to keeping students’ best interests at heart, as it allows for students and schools to adapt their testing methods as health and safety concerns permit, while providing the chance for every student to earn college credit.
“I was one of the people who had to retake one of my tests because of a technical glitch [last year] so it was not very fun… I feel like the tests being [mostly] in person is the right decision because having a multiple choice is more fair and there won’t be any technical difficulties like last year if we take it in person,” Magnet junior Rakin Khoja said.
Instead of the shortened exams implemented last year to accommodate for an unexpected end to the 2019-2020 school year, Collegeboard also decided to provide students with AP exams that test on the chosen course’s entire content. This decision does pose problems for certain NC students who took an AP class during the shortened fall semester, but ultimately remains the best decision that Collegeboard could make for students as a whole. For those planning to pursue classes in college relating to the AP courses they take in high school, this decision allows students to receive an accurate assessment of their knowledge and prepare for those further classes, ultimately benefiting them.
“I definitely think that it’s great just to have one question, but if you mess up on that one question, that’s it, and [for] some people their strength is multiple choice, and they didn’t have that option last year. This way they have all of the different strengths… [and]… there’s some options. [Testing day is] a long morning, but it gives you a way to showcase a lot of different skills and try to get those higher threes, fours, and fives. That’s what the whole course is about, and the exam should reflect what the whole course is about,” AP English Language and Composition teacher Cathie Lawson said.
For students who decide to cancel their exam, for whatever reason, Collegeboard also decided to waive cancellation fees, although registering for the tests themselves will still cost money. Teachers and colleges continue to encourage students to take AP exams, but the choice remains in the student’s hands.
“I had already planned to not take all of my AP exams this year. I have five AP classes, and with being a senior and having so much going on at the end of the year, I knew I wouldn’t want to take five exams. With that said though, I also feel underprepared due to how learning took place this year. I plan on taking two out of five exams and I think a lot of that is due to the fact that I’m worried about not getting credit for an exam given this odd year,” Magnet senior Jamie Deutchman said.
Several students mirrored this attitude, with concerns surrounding how well they learned the material in a mostly online setting keeping them from taking all AP exams. To help offset these worries, Collegeboard decided to offer ten days of live review sessions from April 19 through the 29. Collegeboard’s choices seem to reflect their decision to place health and safety first, while still honoring the work students put in during this unusual school year.