AP exam week takes a turn for thousands of AP students around the country

Tina Duoibes, Web Editor

Senior Ashley Mcgraw prepared for her AP Chemistry exam for months. For AP (Advanced Placement) high school students, like Mcgraw, this one exam at the end of May boils down to whether or not they will receive college credit for their diligent work in their AP classes. However, Mcgraw’s exam hit a road bump when the exam would not let her submit her work after the first question. 

“I have been using Khan Academy since the winter,” said Mcgraw. “And I have been using all the resources like videos and worksheets that our teacher posted for us since we were in quarantine. Before the exam I followed all of the College Board troubleshooting guidelines and I made sure no one else was on the WiFi”

Although students are not able to take the exam at school like normally because of the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down all school since March, the College Board, which administers the exam to students, offered the a version of the exams online for students to take at home. The College Board will also offer a retake for anyone who had technical difficulties during the exam in June. 

“I find the proposition that everyone who had technical issues needs to have retakes is insulting to be frank,” said Luke Spitzley, another senior who’s exam glitched and would not let him submit his work for his AP Chemistry exam. “If you did the work you couldn’t submit it strains credulity to say that you shouldn’t get credit for it.”

After the first week of the exams, which included AP Chemistry, the College Board began offering students the opportunity to submit their work through email for credit during the exam period if normal submission failed. However, week one exam takers did not have such luxuries. 

“I had 7 minutes left but it rejected all submissions so I was forced to apply for the makeup exam,” said Mcgraw. “I was so angry that the College Board could not find solutions for their own server issues until it was too late.”

Junior Larry Spagnuolo had a similar problem with the exam as many other students in her class when going to submit exam work. But like other week one students, there was nothing she could do and would have to take a retake in June.

“After the exam I tried to call the helpline from the college board,” said Spagnuolo. “I ended up being on hold for around three hours. When they finally did pick up they said there was nothing that they could do to fix it and that a lot of other people had the same problem.”

On behalf of all the students who took the new version of the AP exam this year and had technical server problems when going to submit the exam, a class-action lawsuit was filed against the College Board on the ground of breach of contract, gross negligence, misrepresentation and violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The lawsuit also demands that the college board pay monetary relief to affected students and accept all the students exams who were not able to submit. 

“If the College Board can’t see the light I sincerely hope this lawsuit makes them feel the heat,” said Spitzley.

By the end of AP exam week thousands of students have run into technical problems with the College Board server. The future of college admission testing like the SAT and ACT are still uncertain but all we can do is hope that no other students will run into the same problems which could delay their future if a retake is not an option like for the AP exams.