College Board provides new updates for AP testing


Pravalika Balajivaishnavi

Due to COVID-19, many, changes have been made to how AP testing is done. Digital exams may also continue to be an option in the future for the Mustangs.

As the second semester progresses, AP testing begins to be on the radar for students taking AP exams. Many changes have been made for AP testing this year to assure that students are able to effectively take their AP exams. The big question for this year and many years to come is: How will AP testing look and what are the options?

“When you’re doing testing, you have to consider space and teachers to help proctor,” Testing coordinator Dr. Harvey said. “We, as in district leaders, looked at all the different factors, and we will be making a decision that will be shared with the community pretty soon about what District 204 students are going to be doing for AP testing.”

District 204 testing board has not come out and given a formal plan to students or parents. Areas of testing have been tweaked such as synchronous start times for digital exams, and extended deadlines for AP art and design portfolios and AP computer science principles to assure that testing can be done in a timely manner.

“One of our options that we are looking at is the digital option for AP testing for our 204 AP high school students.” Harvey said. “Certainly, if a student has internet access, technology needs that’s something we can work out with students. We want to ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to successfully take the test.” 

According to the College Board, a non-profit organization that provides the AP Exams, the digital exams are not any different from the paper and pencil exams. Similar to last year’s exams, digital testing will be available for reasons such as the safety of students. Digital exams will be taken by students from home on a desktop or Chromebook. The actual test will be the same as paper and pencil testing. 

“College Board puts out a lot of information about guidelines for AP testing,” Harvey said. “That information is shared with students. When you are home, we are not with you, and there’s not a guarantee that a student won’t cheat, but there are parameters even within the test that the College Board built to ensure that cheating is limited and that there’s high integrity when a student actually takes the test. The College Board found it pretty successful last spring, and the scores were highly valid.” 

Even with students testing situations, College Board has found successful ways of test-taking in a pandemic. The topic of cheating is a strong concern when it comes to online exams. Since online testing is a new norm, new parameters and rules have had to be put into place to ensure testing integrity. 

Areas such as student and proctor safety and testing integrity need to be considered for this year’s testing. Students are not getting the same in-person instruction that other students have had in past years due to the lack of time and changed lesson plans. Teachers can give out resources like AP daily videos on the College Board website to expand their readiness for testing.

“AP testing always has make-up dates, and the registration date process occurred earlier in the school year in AP classes, so if students have questions, they can definitely see their classroom teacher or counselor about that,” Harvey said. “Typically there’s a two-week window period in May where testing occurs. This year they are offering three different windows early May, late May, and early June.” 

Testing windows have now been expanded to include all students and give everyone some flexibility. Although this school year was very abnormal, the AP test will still look the same as in previous years. 

According to the College Board, “Digital exams will be full length and test the same knowledge and skills as paper and pencil exams, in a format-appropriate manner.”

Even though the typical school day does not look the same as previous years, teachers have been told to go through the same information to ensure that students are prepared for the AP exam. 

“The best preparation for any type of standardized AP test really is the solid classroom instruction,” Harvey said. “If you are highly engaged and participating you will be well prepared for the test.”