The disruptions of Covid-19 reach down to students taking AP exams–this year exams will be administered online and students will take them from their homes.
The College Board, the organization responsible for administering AP tests, is conducting AP exams online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Kathryn Sosa, the coordinator of secondary accelerated learner services for Rapid City Schools, confirms that 395 students in the Rapid City School District are enrolled in AP classes, with 203 of those at Central. As of March 12th, 2020, the 395 students were registered to take 602 AP tests in May.
The College Board has announced that most AP tests will be shortened to only the Free Response portion only lasting 45 minutes. This comes as a relief to many of Central’s AP students. “I’d rather eat nails than go online to read a single essay and repeat why it was well written over and over again,” said Rhys Vifquain, a junior at Central High School enrolled in AP English language and composition. Despite his boredom with online classes, he keeps an optimistic attitude about the upcoming AP test. “I believe the test is going to be super easy because it’s the one thing we practiced for and the only thing I’m good at,” he said. Emily Kornely, also a junior, is enrolled in AP English language and AP chemistry. “I feel that since [the AP tests are] so reduced, it’s not going to be too bad,” she said. “I’m still unsure though.” This year, the AP tests will only cover what was expected to be taught by early March of this year, so most of her class work has been review to prepare for the exam. “There’s a lot [of work] as usual, but it’s more videos and practice work,” Kornely said.
There were ten AP students in the district who decided not to take their AP tests. Sosa expects more students to drop out of the exam as it nears, “however, it is evident that most of our AP students diligently want to demonstrate their academic prowess.” Sosa does say that the number of students who have canceled AP exams is about the average despite the difference in learning environment and “at-home testing.” For students who are not sure if they want to take the test or not, Sosa recommends students “reflect on their academic work ethic.” If they have worked hard earlier in the year than they should continue to do so and take the test even though it’s online.
Ultimately she recognizes that it depends on what the students want to do. “There is not a uniformity to the testing experience,” due to online testing. Sosa cites issues with technology and “personal space for testing” as reasons students may be undecided. To best prepare for taking the test online itself, students “are encouraged to take practice tests using the authentic testing method–on the same device they would use on the test day.”