Dive Brief:

  • The College Board announced the 2020 AP exams will go on, although with some changes, despite COVID-19 school closures. Exams can be taken at home or at school, if they are open, and will take place at the same time worldwide May 11-22. Make-up exams will be given June 1-5.
  • Most of the exams will feature two or three responses, and each question will be timed separately. The exams can be taken on a computer, tablet or smartphone and students can upload their answers or hand write their responses and submit by taking a photo on their phones. The tests will be much shorter — 45 minutes rather than two to three hours — with an additional five minutes provided for uploading.
  • The tests will be open book/open note, and no points will be given for content that can be found online or in textbooks. Students can’t consult with anyone during the exam and the College Board enacted security measures including tools to detect plagiarism and other methods of cheating.

Dive Insight:

Other specialized course testing has been disrupted as well due to the coronavirus. Because of the new testing hurdles, the International Baccalaureate Organization recently canceled exams that were to be held April 30-May 22 for the IB classes. The organization said that students will be awarded either a diploma or a course certificate that “reflects their standard of work” instead.

As states began closing schools last month due to the coronavirus, administrators scrambled to figure out how to continue learning from a distance in an inequitable environment. According to the Federal Communications Commission, 19 million Americans, or 6% of the population, still lack high-speed internet access. That means not all students can learn equitably at home.

To lessen the struggle, some states are easing up on high school graduation requirements. In Washington state, the site of the first documented COVID-19 case, the state education board is waiving core credit requirements for districts that cannot meet them despite demonstrating a “good faith effort.” Initial alternatives discussed by the school board included offering non-CTE course equivalents for CTE courses, allowing a single course to count for two graduation requirements, or offering pass or no-credit transcript designations instead of letter grades.

The trajectory of the virus changes daily and administrators are left to heed the advice of the state superintendents. In Washington state, social distancing strategies are working and the projected number of cases continue to fall with the peak date of April 2 having passed. In other parts of the country, though, where social distancing is just getting started, health experts predict the worst may be yet to come.

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