AP tests to be offered digitally

By Tania Stefanov, News Writer

The College Board has recently announced that Advanced Placement (AP) tests will be offered in an online format for the 2020-2021 school year, excluding specific language, math, and science classes. 

Previously, all AP tests were administered at Maine South in a paper and pencil format. This year, many tests will only be offered digitally and students will have the option of taking their digital exams from their homes or from school.

The digital exam schedule has left many students with mixed feelings. 

“I think the new system makes sense due to the current pandemic, but I wish every test were available in-person,” junior Grace Kopf said. “I definitely prefer paper and pencil tests. I am taking AP Physics in person, though, which is better than nothing.”

Other students, such as junior Emily Sudmalis, see benefits in online testing. “I am taking AP Language [and Composition] and Biology online,” Sudmalis said. “I think it would be less stressful compared to in-person.”

However, some teachers have lower expectations for this year’s test scores. 

“With changes in the test format and the limitations on our teaching and time with students this year, I don’t think we will do as well as we have in previous years,” AP U.S. History teacher Mr. Don McArthur said.

Teachers have also expressed their preference for in-person testing as it gives students more flexibility with answering questions and reviewing their answers. 

“In-person [testing] gives test takers the ability to mark up the test materials and go back and forth within sections,” Mr. McArthur said. 

With some tests requiring complex free-response answers, a paper and pencil test might prove to be simpler than a digital exam.

“I am very glad our test is in person,” AP Calculus teacher and exam reader Ms. Barbara Rizzi said. “Taking this online would require students to submit answers by typing them, since College Board is not allowing students to upload pictures this year. Having to learn a new platform to enter their answers would add more anxiety to the process of reviewing for a major exam.” 

The district has opted for the second administration cycle offered by the College Board: May 18-21 and May 24-28. 

“This will allow us an extra three weeks to wrap up the necessary coursework and provide students with a solid review,” Ms. Rizzi said. “I am sure students who put in the necessary work and diligence will do well.”

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