College Board modifies AP exams in response to COVID-19 regulations

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Image by Anthony Gose

AP english teacher Ms. Perez’s classroom ready for in person learning and test taking

Tanner Coatsworth, staff writer

It’s that time of year again; the time of year when Advanced Placement [AP]  students put what they have learned to the test. AP exams will take place between May 3 and  June 11 and the exams, while typically administered in-person at testing locations across the country, have had to make some significant adjustments to honor COVID safety procedures.

Depending on the subject, there are different protocols and ways testing will be done. For example, AP Environmental Science will be taken fully online, while AP Language and Composition will be taken in-person at school.

Below is a video from AP classroom depicting what the digital exam is going to look like this school year. AP classroom has also put out a list of everything you need to know for this year’s AP tests, called 7 Fast Facts about the 2021 AP exam.

Buena’s AP English Language and Composition teacher Antoinette Perez has really understood students’ struggle over quarantine and has done everything to help her students prepare for the test. 

“We are doing weekly reviews, we spend an entire week on each free response question [FRQ] and section on the exam,” Perez said, “…together, we are doing practice passages and practicing timed writes.” 

Teachers and College Board took into consideration that students were not getting the knowledge they usually need for the test, which spurred them to create resources for students to use to better prepare for the tests. AP classroom has added practice tests to their site for teachers to use as a resource to help their students. 

Teachers do not  feel like test scores are going to be much different than other years and AP Environmental Science teacher Michael Yorke believes that scores will be similar to the rest of the world. 

“Nationwide, they will be the same, they “curve” the exams so they end up historically having similar pass rates from year to year,” Yorke said. “Each year I make a prediction of how many students are going to do, and I am pleasantly surprised”

“Honestly, I don’t think there is going to be much difference in sorts of AP lang scores,” Perez said, “…it’s hard to compare them to last year, but I think that Ms. Herrera and myself have done a pretty good job at preparing you guys.” 

The AP Environmental Science tests being fully digital, has been the source of some concern for the College board regarding academic integrity. As a result, “lockdown browsers” which will not allow test takers  leave the website or go back to review previous answers. 

“The most effective way is making free response questions that don’t have “google-able” answers.” Yorke said, “Also, cheating on the college exam could jeopardize college admissions, it’s not worth it for students to do.”