Teachers’ Plans for the AP Changes

Coronavirus' effects on these years' exams

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As COVID-19 has affected schools nationwide, resulting in online schooling, the College Board has taken measures to ensure the safety of students as well. AP teachers reveal how they feel about these changes and what they plan to do to get their students ready for this newly formatted exam.

Typically, AP (Advanced Placement) exams at the end of the year for college credit have ranged from two to three hours, with a usual multiple-choice timed section and a free-response section. However, because of the previous effect of COVID-19 across the nation, AP exams have been moved online and will be taken at home, with a new timing of only 45 minutes.

Another change to the 2019-2020 AP exams is the significant cut of material within the AP courses’ curricula, taking 1-3 chapters of the usually required curriculum off of the exam. However, most AP teachers at Juan Diego are still teaching the rest of the usually required knowledge, like AP World History and AP Art History teacher, Vanessa Jacobs. “My role as a history teacher means more to me than as an AP World History teacher,” Jacobs began, “so I plan to include the major portions of world history from 1900 to the present, even if it is not on the curriculum.” AP Biology teacher, Beth Bernards, is also continuing to teach the remainder of her curriculum. “We will finish our last unit (that has been cut from the 2020 exam) after students take their AP test. It is important to finish the content, because it may help them with future science classes,” Bernards said.

As to the changing of the length of the exams, teachers feel as if the College Board did the right thing. “The College Board had to make a decision based on the readiness of all students, not just those at JD,” Jacobs continued. “I believe moving the exam to an abbreviated 45 minutes is a good call and the best under the circumstances.” Bernards agrees, as well. “I understand that the current situation dictates a form of change,” Bernards continues, “and I think they made the best decision possible, knowing that the majority of students still wanted to complete AP exams across the country,” Bernards finished.

While teachers can agree that the College Board made the best decision, there is a bit of a downfall for the students. “I am nervous about halving the time of the test,” Bernards said. “There are fewer opportunities for students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding.” AP European History and AP U.S. History teacher, Amanda Clark, said, “Having an entire year come down to 1 question in 45 minutes is a bit nerve-racking. But, this is a skill we’ve been working on all year and I have absolute faith in my students.”

With the year coming to an end, teachers are ensuring confidence in their students by further preparing for the free-response tests coming up in mid-May by practicing the skills provided to answer the specific kinds of questions. To access the College Board’s new testing dates for AP classes and the revisions they made to the curriculums, click here.