One of the most notorious parts of AP classes in high school is the dreaded The College Board AP Exam.
Each AP course has a corresponding intense and proctored AP Exam, but the question for high schoolers in the past few months has been how these exams would be administered in light of the coronavirus.
Now that testing has begun, however, there have been cheating accusations that may require some students to take their test a second time — and some whose scores may be canceled altogether.
How the AP Exams are different this year
For just the Spring 2020 semester, The College Board AP Exams will be conducted online as 45-minute tests. The College Board is providing two testing windows — the original which is currently taking place (late May), and the make-up testing period, which will take place the first week of June.
These tests are open book/open note, but students should have no communication with others during the test — including via sharing sites and documents. Similarly, all submitted work must be the work of the student.
Technically, students are allowed to search the Internet for answers, but due to the nature of the tests, these searches probably will not help their score and may end up being a waste of time.
In order to prevent cheating, The College Board has developed plagiarism-detection software that will review each exam. Similarly, each exam will also be reviewed by a teacher. Students accused of cheating (or when the software detects cheating), scores will be automatically canceled.
If students are caught cheating, though, The College Board has indicated that their high school counselors and university admissions officers will be notified. Even though it’s traditionally the student’s choice to share their scores with colleges or not, if caught cheating, they would not be able to stop The College Board from reporting their name to college admissions officers.
Accusations of cheating
The Senior Vice President of The College Board tweeted on May 10 that they discovered “a ring of students who were developing plans to cheat.” They cancelled those students’ registrations for the exams and continued to investigate others.”
However, The College Board has refused to give any more details about the cheating ring or how they discovered it.
Similarly, The College Board provided little information as to how plagiarism or other forms of cheating would be detected via their cheating detection system.
Obviously, the problem of cheating online is causing big questions for students and administrators alike — not just at the high school level, but for colleges and universities, too.
If social distancing rules remain in place or online exams become more of a norm, schools will need to lay out more distinct regulations as to what counts as cheating and how students can be sure to avoid making mistakes that lead to a cheating accusation.
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These materials have been prepared by Cohen Seglias for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.