Updates on Standardized Testing

May 22, 2020

The closing of schools due to COVID-19 has led to confusion and uncertainty in relation to standardized testing across the county. With the switch to online schooling, many students have been searching for answers regarding the APs and SATs. The Echo is here to answer your questions.

APs–how will they be taken?

In past years, the APs (advanced placement tests) have been taken in school, but due to COVID-19, the College Board has issued for all tests to be taken online and from home instead. But, the College Board has stated that if schools reopen, the exams can be taken there. Since Mount Greylock will not be opening back up for the rest of this school year, students had the option to either skip the exam and not receive college credit, or take the exam at home, online.

Each student will have approximately 45 minutes to complete each exam, which is a significantly shorter time than exams administered in the past. However, they must log in 30 minutes before the exam begins. Each subject’s exam will be taken at the same time by all students. All exams will be administered between May 11 and May 22, with makeup dates from June 1 – 5.

Students can take the exam on any device they have access to, whether it be computer, phone, or ipad. Alternatively, students can write their responses to the exam by hand, then submit a photo, or type it up and then upload their responses.

What will the AP exams consist of this year?

Instead of the majority of the exam being multiple choice as it has been in the past, this year’s AP exams will consist of one to two free response questions. However, world language exams may have a different format. 

Due to the closing of schools, some students have lost valuable learning time in relation to others. This year the AP exams will test students only on topics that classes have learned from the beginning of the year to March.

What am I allowed and not allowed to do during the exam?

The exams are open book, meaning students can use their textbooks, in addition to resources from their class and teachers such as previous assignments and exams, study guides, and notes. 

Additionally, students are allowed to search on the internet during the exam, but The College Board strongly advises against it, as they say, “The information won’t be helpful for your responses, and searching will waste valuable time.” 

During the exam, students can also use digital documents such as google docs for their work, but the documents must be private, meaning they are not allowed to be shared with other people.

The College Board has put a list of rules in place to prevent cheating on the exam. For example, students are not allowed to talk to and consult with anyone during the exam, including other test takers and family members. 

Students are also not allowed to use any sites, including social media platforms, to collaborate or communicate with other people. Sharing answers in any way during the test is forbidden by the College Board. Additionally, just like past years, all work must be your own, and plagiarism is not allowed. 

Regarding plagiarism, The College Board said all work “will be reviewed using a variety of methods, including digital security tools to detect plagiarism.” The teachers of the students taking the exam will also be given the opportunity to review their students’ work to “check for inconsistencies.”

Furthermore, The College Board said any student who “gains an unfair advantage” during the exam, will have their scores completely cancelled. It will also be reported to the student’s school, as well as college admissions offices. 

Which standardized tests have been cancelled?

Although the APs and SATs are still being administered, a number of standardized tests have been cancelled. The PSAT 10 and 8/9 are among those exams which have been completely cancelled for this spring.

The MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) is usually taken in the spring by students in Massachusetts from grades three to ten. But, it will not be taken this year due to the closing of schools.

When are the next SAT dates? When can I register for them?

The College Board has said that if it is safe from a public health standpoint, they will be offering SAT administrations every month of the calendar year beginning in August. As the May 2nd and June 6th exams have been cancelled, a test date has been added for September 26. Students will still have these previously scheduled test dates available to them: August 29, October 3, November 7, and December 5.

Starting in late May, students will be able to sign up to take the SATs on one of those dates. The College board has said they will “contact students directly during the week of May 26 to provide an exact date.” 

Students who have already signed up for June can have early access to register for August, September, and October. Additionally, students who are in the class of 2021 and do not yet have SAT scores have access to early registration for those dates as well.

How will they be administered?

If it is safe to administer the SAT exams in person as has been done in normal years, the College Board will do so. But, if schools do not reopen in the fall, They will be providing online SAT exams, similar to the APs this year.

Are colleges going test optional?

A number of colleges have gone test optional due to the Coronavirus, taking into consideration the difficulties it has presented for students attempting to take the SATs, ACTs, and APs. Harvard and Cornell recently became test optional, along with over 24 other colleges and universities across the country, including Williams and Amherst.

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