AP tests move to online


photo by Eileen An

Junior Sahil Shah takes advantage of a brain break in Dali Stires’ U.S. History class. Shah is one of over 1,000 Hagerty students preparing to take online AP exams at home that will be very different than what they expected at the beginning of the year.

Due to the state-wide school closures as a result of the Coronavirus, students taking AP courses will no longer take CollegeBoard tests in their usual format for this year. Instead of an in person test that is hours long – with hand written responses, the tests will be offered in an online format with three written responses.

“It is not my preferred method of testing, however, under the circumstances I feel that students should have whatever opportunity presents itself to earn college credit in the classes they have been preparing for all school year,” AP World and European History teacher Erin Foley said.

Exams will be given from May 11 through the 22, and they will only include topics and skills taught by early March. Students will be able to take these online tests on any device connected to the internet such as computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Most exams will be 45 minutes long with five additional minutes needed for uploading. CollegeBoard said that students will need to access the online systems 30 minutes early to set up.

“It made me kind of paranoid that my computer might die halfway in the test,” junior Jonathan Polera said. “I don’t really mind it because at least we get to have the AP testing still.”

With the new testing procedures, teachers like AP US History teacher Dali Stires and Foley continue to teach as normal with the only difference being that students and teachers do not see face to face.

“My intentions are to have as many opportunities to have virtual face to face so I can encourage them, help them, guide them. Still be there for them,” Stires said. “I still will hold my students accountable for their review work.”

Stires plans to prepare her students by giving them review assignments that have them collect evidence for key concept questions they have focused on all year. She will also be giving them practice quizzes for each time period, writing practices, and review videos.

“Personally, many AP teachers are actively trying to find ways to bridge the ‘distance’ factor; either with podcasts, recorded lectures or web streaming,” Foley said. “Now, whether students tune in for these has yet to been seen.”

Polera is going to take the exams for AP Spanish Lang, AP English Lang, and AP US History. His plan to prepare will be going to his teacher’s online sessions to ask questions, getting work done for classes, and reviewing previous lessons.

“The student responses will have to show that the students know their subject matter and it will require students to provide evidence that they truly understand,” Stires said. “I believe that it can be challenging if a student does not prepare.”

Students taking world language and culture exams like Polera will have to complete two spoken tasks consistent with free-response questions three and four on the current AP exam. They will not be required to submit written responses.

Also, students taking Art and Design: 2D, Art and Design: 3D, Computer Science Principles, Drawing, Research, and Seminar will not take online exams. AP scores for these courses will be based on work submitted from their digital portfolios. Their submission deadline is May 26 before midnight.

“Every year I have a positive attitude when students go to take the test,” Foley said. “This year is no different.”