2020 AP Exams Elicit Criticism Due To Submission Difficulties


College Board

Online AP exams was College Board’s response to the coronavirus. There have been numerous complaints about technical difficulties from test-takers.

As the window for AP testing rolled around, millions of students across the country logged on for the first digital at-home AP exams in College Board history. Things appeared to be running smoothly until complaints began to roll in from students who were not able to submit their AP exams due to technical difficulties.

During the first week of the two-week window for testing, 2.18 million AP exams were administered to students. College Board has declined to provide exact details on the number of students whose AP submission processes failed, but it is estimated that around one percent of the test takers (numbering around 22,000 students) experienced difficulty submitting their exams. However, this number does not include the students who could not take tests or simply deserted testing due to unclear instruction.

College Board also faced a $500 million lawsuit on May 19 for alleged negligence and violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Miller Advocacy Group and the Baker, Keener, and Nahra LLP were the two major organizations behind the filing of the lawsuit.

On May 18, the College Board publicly stated that any submission errors were not related to the performance of their servers. Rather, they suggested outdated browsers or Internet connection on the students’ end may have been the cause of any technical difficulties. They also introduced the option of email responses immediately after an exam in case the submission process did go awry. However, students who had already tested before May 18 would still be required to take makeup exams in June.

“I think it really wasn’t that fair,” said Katelyn Kelley, a junior at Rancho Campana. “Students might not be aware that they have bad browsers or other internet issues that may have caused problems with their submissions. It’s out of their control.”

“At the beginning when I couldn’t submit my Calculus FRQ, I was extremely frustrated with College Board,” said Vibha Dabholkar, a junior at Cam High. “It felt like we were the ‘guinea pigs’, but I’m glad College Board fixed the problem by giving students other options to submit their responses.”

Similarly, test-takers who took AP exams during the first week of the two-week testing window were not offered compensation for any submission errors, so as to preserve the integrity of the AP tests. These students will instead be retaking their tests on the offered makeup dates between June 1st and 5th.

However, many students are also grateful for the opportunity to test for college credits from home.”I do wish that I didn’t have to retake the test in general,” said Dabholkar. “But on the other hand, this pandemic is new to everybody and we are all trying to cope.”