Michigan students to take Advanced Placement exams online in May
Michigan high school students in Advanced Placement courses will be taking their AP exam online at home in May, as students remain shut out of school buildings for the remainder of the school year due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Officials with the College Board announced on Friday that exams will be offered from May 11-22 and students may take the tests either on a tablet, smartphone or laptop/desktop computer. There will two exam dates for every subject.
AP is a program created by the College Board that offers college-level curricula and examinations to high school students. In the 2018-19 school year, 79,546 Michigan students were enrolled in AP courses. Of those, 110,149 took AP exams, which are optional.
Last month, College Board officials announced the exam would be reduced from its normal three hours — with multiple choice questions, a document-based essay and long essay questions — to a 45-minute online test with free response questions. No multiple choice questions will be included.
"To be fair to all students, some of whom have lost more instructional time than others, the exam will only include topics and skills most AP teachers and students have already covered in class by early March," the College Board said in a statement on its website.
The College Board is providing free remote learning resources for schools, including access to all practice questions and free online AP classes on YouTube.
"Some students may want to take the exam sooner rather than later, while the content is still fresh. Other students may want more time to practice," its website said.
Students scoring well on end-of-course AP exams are eligible to earn college credit. Students need to receive a score of 3 or higher on an AP exam to qualify for college credit.
"Students remain eager to take AP Exams and to have a chance to earn credit and placement. We surveyed 18,000 AP students and 91% indicated they want to complete this important step, urging us not to cancel this opportunity they have been working toward," the College Board said.
Farrah Fasse, a sophomore at Grosse Pointe North High School who will be taking the AP U.S. history exam, said she is glad the test time has been reduced.
"It will likely be easier, however I would have preferred to take the test with pencil and paper as that is how I’ve practiced in class," Fasse said. "The College Board has also decided to take two of the units off of the exam, which helps me greatly as I learn much better in school rather than online."
The exams will be open book and open note, officials with the College Board said.
Most exams will have one or two free-response questions, with and each question timed separately. Students will need to write and submit their responses within the allotted time for each question.
Students without a device or internet access are asked to contact the College Board directly. Taking a photo of handwritten work will also be an option, the College Board said.
To detect cheating, the College Board will monitor social media and group chat sites. They also have a plagiarism-detection software that recognizes if the writing being submitted is by the student.
"You can't look up stuff on Google," said Norm Hurns, executive board member with the Michigan School Counselors Association.
Hurns said he was on a call with College Board officials on Friday who said they wanted to give AP students "a sense of normalcy" during the pandemic and validate the hard work they had done in their AP classes up to this point.
"One of the biggest things is taking away the angst for students. They are offering AP course online," Hurns said. "They have done everything they can."
Hurns said students are allowed to not take the exam. Refunds are being worked out by the College Board. Students were required to register for the exams earlier in the school year.
"I had five students who didn’t want to take the test out of 477," Hurns said. "But I had some who said they wish they could take the test."
Max Friedman, a student at Berkley High School who will be taking the AP exam for government and macroeconomics next month, said he thinks the test will be easier under the new conditions and scores will be higher because some students might cheat.
"I think I will be fine. I still have all my notes. I've already learned this stuff," Friedman said. "Doing school from home, I don't feel like I've learned as much as I would in class. I get distracted."
The ACT has rescheduled its national test date to June 13 across the United States. The College Board has canceled the May 2 SAT exam.