College Board Modifies AP Exams Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

Due+to+COVID-19+concerns+shutting+down+schools%2C+AP+Exams+have+been+moved+to+an+online+system.+More+information+about+these+changes+will+be+released+on+Friday%2C+April+3.

Photo By Alberto G.

Due to COVID-19 concerns shutting down schools, AP Exams have been moved to an online system. More information about these changes will be released on Friday, April 3.

By Bernice Chen, Opinions Editor

As outbreaks of COVID-19 threaten the safety of communities around the world, schools are facing challenges with continuing to educate students. Concerns over the coronavirus’ spread have forced educational institutions and school districts like RRISD to cancel events, shut down campuses, and search for alternative methods to facilitate learning. In response to these difficulties, the College Board announced on Friday, March 20 that it would be changing its AP Exams to ease the burdens on students and teachers.

Because holding in-person exams with large groups of students is no longer an option, the College Board is instead administering the tests online, allowing students to take them at home on any device. Students who don’t have access to the technology they need to prepare for and take AP Exams can sign up to receive these resources from the organization.

In addition, the exams will be only 45 minutes long and made up of free-response questions covering topics that most AP students have already learned by early March. These shortened exams will be accepted as credit by colleges due to the coronavirus emergency. Since some students may need more time to practice for the exam, the College Board will also offer two testing dates for each AP subject — one in May and another at a later date.

One of the biggest concerns with this new system is testing security. “The at-home exams are designed and administered in ways that prevent cheating,” Trevor Packer, Senior Vice President of AP and Instruction at the College Board, assured on Twitter. “We use a range of tools and techniques, including plagiarism detection software, to protect exam integrity.”

Beginning on Wednesday, March 25, free online AP review courses will be available for students and teachers to participate in. These daily lessons will be taught by AP teachers across the country and help students both review past concepts and learn new course material. The College Board also encouraged teachers to take advantage of the AP Classroom software provided at the start of the school year, stating that they will soon be able to digitally assign any appropriate free-response questions to students.

“The health and safety of educators and students are the AP Program’s top priorities,” the organization said in its news update. “These solutions are meant to be as simple and lightweight as possible for both students and teachers — without creating additional burdens for school leaders during this time.”

On Friday, April 3, more information about the updated AP Exams will be released, including the two testing dates offered and which types of questions will be on the exams.