AP exams rescheduled, most offered online

Ella Naugle, co-news editor

District 225 will administer Advanced Placement (AP) exams during the second administration period provided by the College Board, which will occur between May 18 through May 28, Cameron Muir, associate principal of curriculum and instruction said. During the second testing period, full-length exams will be offered both in-person and digitally at home, Muir explained.

Muir said that because this year’s exams will be administered later than usual, teachers and students will have more time to cover material than in past years. Tara Tate, AP Government teacher, explained that the shift is especially beneficial to students taking AP government second semester, as it provides more time to cover content.

“Even under normal circumstances, the spring semester in AP Government is super fast-tracked,” Tate said. “In a hybrid situation, we are dealing with less time per class and a student base that is pandemic-fatigued. This change will allow for better preparation for the test as well as a bit of an ease on our already taxed students.”

Jeff Rylander, instructional supervisor of the Science Department, said AP Physics and Chemistry will only be offered in-person during the second testing window.

“AP Physics and AP Chemistry are being offered in-person to [allow] students to [better] communicate their work which can require formula writing, diagram drawing, and equations,” Rylander said. “If a student cannot take the exam in-person during the second testing window, they may take the exam during the make-up window in early June.”

Although most courses have a digital testing option available for students, World Language and Music Theory exams will only be offered in-person, according to a district-wide email sent out on Feb. 26. Students can opt-out of those exams and will be offered a refund.

Junior Suzanne Kurland said that she will still take her AP Spanish exam and supports the school’s plan for AP exams, however, she realizes that some students might not feel comfortable coming into the school.

“I considered the risk with Covid-19, as I am currently doing school from home, but decided that regardless of whether the exams were in person or not, I wanted to take it,” Kurland said. “I think fewer kids will take the AP Language tests, due to the pandemic, many students have had to take certain precautions, so I think this will affect the number of people taking the exams.”

While junior Minjae Lee plans on taking his exams at home, he acknowledged that students taking exams at home have an advantage because of having easier access to resources allowing students to cheat.

“I think the statistics would show a higher score for at-home test-takers,” Lee said. “To call this an advantage would be an understatement. However, reversing the decision would be more harmful.”

Since not all students will come into the building to take their AP tests, Muir said South will still be able to hold in-person classes on the days of AP tests while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Additionally,  Principal Dr. Lauren Fagel said students who need a strong internet connection for the exams will be able to take their exams at South. Because many students will be taking exams online, Fagel said that teachers will help students feel more comfortable with the format.

“The good news is that students have done so much online this year that they are very comfortable in that environment,” Fagel said. “Our teachers want students to feel as confident as possible when they take the exam.”