Students Question College Board


Emma Couch '23

This image shows two AP US History students displaying a timeline they use to prepare for their exam in May

College Boards AP curriculum is designed to be a difficult college level course meant to challenge high school students. In class instruction is very important for students to have a deep understanding of the material. The pandemic has halted the majority of in class learning in many schools across the country. This online or hybrid model has been detrimental to the flow of my AP courses. The College Board has had to respond to this learning curve by creating a new format for the AP exams.

While the format of AP exams varies by the subject, traditionally AP exams have been the same for many years. For example the AP US History exam consists of a 3 hour and 15 minute testing period comprising multiple choice questions, free response, a document based question, and a long essay question. AP exams are notoriously difficult and students spend weeks to months preparing for them.

This year’s AP US History exam has taken on an entire new format designed for in person learners and remote learners. Students fortunate enough to have in person learning will be able to take the traditional exam. Students taking the exam remotely, will no longer have a long essay question to complete. Students will now also have the option to take the exam at home or in a school setting.

This online, at home format has made students question whether or not the AP exam will be fair for every student. Students participating in the exam virtually might have access to resources that students taking the proctored exam do not have access to. Emery Brown ‘23, an AP US History student said, “when I began APUSH I knew I would push my academic boundaries, and the students taking the exam at home could possibly use notes.” Emery believes that the best solution to this would be, “to ensure the College Board is using a proctoring application such as Lanschool.” Mr. Robinson who is the Assistant Chief Reader for College Board, and also teaches multiple AP courses at Hutchinson believes, “students who take the exam in person will have an increased opportunity to get a high score, because they will be completing multiple essays.” Although Mr. Robinson believes there is a “lack of equity within the exams, College Board has online programs that can track students potential cheating.”

Regardless of the unusual circumstances, many Hutchinson girls are relieved they can take the exam in person this year. Emery said “regardless of the challenging year we have had I would never go back and not take an AP class.” Taking the AP exam in person at school, will hopefully provide structure, and a calm environment for students to perform at their highest level academically.

Hutchison has begun hosting AP review sessions to prepare students for the exams which will begin in May. Hutchison will have special rooms to accommodate students who have been remote learners. College Board has worked tirelessly to ensure that the testing process will occur as smoothly as possible.