The AP Program has announced that 2019-20 AP exams are changing for schools that are impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). Instead of the usual face-to-face exams, there will be shortened 45-minute online exams with no multiple choice.
The specific test dates and the free-response question types will all be posted by April 3 and students will be able select one of the two different testing dates. The exams will only include topics and skills most AP teachers and students have already covered in class by early March.
“I think the APUSH students (not just mine, all of them) are very well prepared. We have a rigorous, highly effective program and our students generally perform well. My only concern would be if College Board implemented a new writing technique for which the students have not been prepared, but that seems unlikely,” said APUSH teacher Kevin Batchelor.
Some students are happy with the change because it allows them to continue with the AP exam that they have been waiting to take for a semester and maybe more. Some students are happy that it is shorter now.
“It’s very nice of them to let us continue to test from home. I’m glad they shortened it to 45 minutes instead of more than three hours worth of testing,” says junior Amy McGowan.
Even though some think this is a good idea, some people think they should have cancelled the AP exams instead.
“I worry about everyone’s mental health. If AP would have cancelled, I know I would personally be experiencing far less stress and anxiety, and I’m not even preparing to take the exam. I am disappointed that AP Central chose money over human health,” said AP art history teacher Jo Sutton.
The test can be taken on any device that the students have access to or they can submit a photo of the handwritten work. If students do not have access to the tools to study and take the exam, they can contact the AP Program directly to make arrangements.
AP teachers from across the country are posting daily online review AP classes beginning on Wednesday, March 25. The lessons will be focused on reviewing the materials that have already been covered (the first 75 percent of the courses).
Although some say that this is a good solution to the crisis situation, some teachers think that there will be other problems with the exams being done online at home.
“[Some possible problems are] reliable internet access and rampant cheating. College Board will, no doubt, make students log in to a system that locks their computer into the AP Exam for the 45 minute period but it won’t prevent kids from getting on another laptop, phone, etc…they need to leave just enough time to answer the questions off of the top of your head and no more, but it still won’t stop everyone,” said Batchelor.