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Full length AP tests controversial

The SAT is a test that can make life difficult for students. Courtesy Photo

After an abnormal year of instruction, students are beginning to take AP exams as they finish the 2020-2021 school year, however many students have a feeling of disappointment in the choices that CollegeBoard has made about exams. 

English Teacher Toby Barmeyer explained how AP tests will be taken this year and how they’re different from years past.

“So this year for the first time they’re having three different test sessions,” she said. “So you can do the original date that’s at the beginning of May and then you can do the one that’s next week that’s later in May and then the last choice for selecting a date is in the beginning of June so there’s three different testing dates and then not only that, they’re also giving you additional choices beyond that where you can either do it on paper or you can do it through the computer digitally.” 

Although students are happy to have the option to take the test at home or online, many expressed deep concern for the preparedness of students taking full length tests. Senior Josie Booth explained how she feels about the tests.

“A lot of students have had less time to prepare for the tests and the tests are still slightly modified, but are full length compared to the tests from last year which would have fit better to help accommodate the situation caused by COVID-19,” she said. 

Ms. Barmeyer explained why she feels it is unfair that students are taking full length tests with much less preparation time than students have in a traditional school year and the changes she’s noticed in her classes. 

“Truthfully I’m pretty disappointed in CollegeBoard for making it the entire exam because honestly we’ve only seen the students half the time of a usual year,” she said. “They did provide a lot of additional resources on AP Classroom but with not seeing students I’ve noticed a huge difference in this year’s AP classes versus AP classes in years past and so I’m really bummed they didn’t adjust it. I had a lot of students that dropped out [of taking the exam]. Usually I have everyone in class take it and this year I have 50% that signed up to take it.”

Along with teachers, several Bruins taking AP tests this year expressed their disappointments in CollegeBoard for not modifying the length of the tests this year after making modifications to them last year. Junior Maya Thrasher explained how she feels AP tests are unfair.

“I do not like that the AP tests are still their normal length even though we have missed out on so many hours of learning,” she said. “I think it is unfair because as I said in some parts of the US people got to go to school normally while others have had to do zoom school so some students will be more prepared than others.”

Dayanara Moreno Jurado, a junior, shared similar sentiments.

“I think it is incredibly unfair that AP tests are going to be the full four hours because the majority of students are in no way prepared,” she said. “Many schools started late or are not going to be able to teach everything that would normally be taught in an AP class and CollegeBoard refuses to shorten or not cover certain material in the tests.”

Concerns about the likelihood of students cheating is also heightened with tests being taken at home and on computers instead of traditionally, on paper. Ms. Barmeyer talked about the ways the school is combating the matter.

“Usually AP exams are all on paper to cut back on cheating because how do you cheat if it’s on paper,” she said. “But apparently they have crazy technology on the computers and they have all this spyware and somehow they can tell if you’re cheating they also lock down your computer so you can’t access other stuff. 

Finally, Ms. Barmeyer closed with a positive statement to students persevering through the situations caused by COVID-19 this year.

“It is impressive for those students who still decided to take the exam because it is such a unique school year and it’s a feat in itself just to take the full exam this year so students should be proud of themselves regardless of their scores.”

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Full length AP tests controversial