- Nearly 1% of students who took online AP exams this spring experienced technical difficulties.
- The approximately 10,000 students who failed their tests because of submission issues will have the opportunity to retake the test.
- Incompatibility with photo file format was a major factor in students being unable to submit the entirety of their tests.
- One of the improvements the college board is instituting, according to The Verge, is to allow students to email their work if there are issues submitting the test.
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Testing is a stressful time for students, and this year it got even more stressful for many taking their AP Exams, which are now online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
AP exams, which cost $94 per exam, are administered by the College Board and can help students earn college credit. Typically the test is handwritten with a multiple-choice section and a short answer or essay section.
This year, the exams are being administered electronically. Those who take the online test have the option to type answers or hand-write and upload photos of their work — and that's where the trouble started.
Close to 1% of students taking the exam, around 10,000 kids, reported technical difficulties submitting their tests, according to a report by USA Today. In cases where students were unable to submit their tests, they failed the exam. One of the main culprits of submission issues was an incompatibility with a common photo format, according to a report by The Verge.
The digital AP exams accept JPEG, JPG, and NPG, photo files. But iOS devices such as iPhones and some Android products produce an HEIC file format, The Verge's report said. The incompatibility of students' photo files on the testing platform led to a cascade of issues as some students tried to convert the files under the high-pressure timed test environment, according to The Verge.
The College Board posted information on how to change phone camera settings; however, the news came out too late for some students already taking exams, according to The Verge.
Students and parents voiced complaints about the exam's glitches on Facebook and Twitter. But students who experienced technical difficulties may have to opportunity to retake their exams.
—⛈ (@jnxnvr) May 18, 2020
Although for some students, the idea of waiting to retake an exam they already prepared for seemed unfair. That's why Eliana Sisman started a petition to give students the opportunity to resubmit their work instead of having to retake the exam, according to USA Today's report. The petition has over 23,000 signatures.
"Though the vast majority of students were able to submit their responses successfully, we share the deep disappointment of those who weren't," the College Board wrote in a statement. "We have been listening closely to each student, parent, and educator who reports a problem and aggressively pursuing a way to improve the testing experience."
One of the improvements the college board is instituting, according to The Verge, is to allow students to email their work if there are issues submitting the test.
AP exams aren't the only standardized test being disrupted by COVID-19. The chartered financial analyst (CFA) exams in June are postponed until December. And those who registered won't be issued refunds because all participant's tests were rescheduled.
This marks the first time in 65 years the AP exams have been conducted online, and the issues highlight the bumps some organizations are facing shifting traditionally in-person events into a digital setting.
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