College Board and AP Exams 2020

College Board and AP Exams 2020

Amanda Anzaldo, Staff Writer

Many students have encountered the College Board during their time in high school. The College Board is a nonprofit organization that creates tests to promote preparedness for college. However, especially this year, students are very frustrated with the College Board and its policies. While the College Board claims to be a nonprofit organization, the company has made over a billion dollars in revenue. Where does this money go? The company has paid teachers from all over the United States to grade exams. The College Board also paid for hotels and food for the exam graders. According to the New York Times, the CEO of the College Board makes over $500,000 a year, plus $750,000 in compensation. The College Board makes students believe that they cannot succeed without AP exams or the SAT beyond high school. There are many people in this world who are successful that have not taken an AP exam or the SAT. 

This year, AP Exams were held online due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This was a disadvantage to those students who did not have connections to the internet, or an electronic device to take the exam on. The College Board also experienced many technical issues on the days of the exams, so many students had issues submitting their responses causing many students to panic. To make matters worse, students that experienced technical difficulties now have to retake their exams in June. Why should students spend more of their time retaking an exam when it wasn’t their fault that the College Board had technical difficulties? The College Board also made all AP Exams at the same time, so students around the world took exams during inconvenient hours. A student in Singapore had to wake up at 1:15 AM just so she could take an AP Physics Exam. She later found that her submission did not go through. She wasted an entire school year studying physics just to find that the College Board would not accept her work. Students around the world have sent petitions to the College Board and asked them to make a separate test for those in other nations, but the College Board refused, since most people taking the test were in the United States. Not to mention that students in other countries besides the United States have to pay more than we do to take the exams. 

As per The Washington Post, the College Board is also facing a $500 million lawsuit due to violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. And the New York Post reported that a blind student, Kaleigh Brendle, is also suing the College Board because she was not given braille copies of the materials for her AP exams. Instead of braille, there was a software that read her the information on the day of her test. Brendle was also entitled to extra time, since it takes longer to read braille and type her responses. The College Board did not give Brendle any extra time. The AP United States History exam, for example, had maps, political cartoons, and other tables to analyze, so I imagine it would be difficult to understand a map or political cartoon when it is only described. 

I think that this year’s AP exams were stressful because of pressure. AP exams were also modified, since not all material could be covered during online school. However, most exams consisted of one or two free response questions. For example, a regular AP Language and Composition exam would have three essays and multiple choice questions. So if you did not do well on one of the essays, you would have the other two essays and the multiple choice to help your total score. This year’s exam was only one essay. So if a student did poorly on the essay, then the total score would be low. I did not have any issues submitting my responses, but I feel badly for the people who did. It is unfair that students spent an entire school year studying just to be told that they need to retake their exams because of an issue on the College Board’s end. Best of luck to those who have to retake in June, and I hope the College Board fixes the issues that caused so many students to stress.