AP Exams to be taken on campus

OPHS offers possible switch to June virtual exams upon request

Administrators and College Board officials have been working in the past months to determine whether AP Exams should be taken on campus or in an at-home format. Schools have to follow the guidelines of the College Board as well as the regulations provided by the CDC on student interactions and school safety, and these factors contributed to the decision-making process..

With all of these measures taken into account, Oak Park High School has recently issued many statements via StudentSquare and ParentSquare concerning the format of on-campus AP Exams.

“OPHS is excited to offer all AP exams in-person at the OPHS campus on the original dates listed in the Order Exam form with two exceptions,” Assistant Principal Natalie Smith wrote in  a Student Square post.

Beginning in May, all AP Tests will be offered in an in-person format, with the exception of the AP U.S. History Exam and the digital portfolios for AP Studio Art: Drawing and Painting & AP Computer Science Principles. Due to many deciding factors, the AP U.S. History exam will only be offered virtually on May 19, and the portfolios due virtually the following day.

“It was a mixture of decisions: everything from facilities, social distancing, dates … the number of students that signed up, if we had proctors …  all of that,” Smith said.

However, the comfortability of students and parents is always a priority according to Smith. OPHS made an option for students to switch to a virtual format for any exam being offered on campus. The deadline for the form to switch formats was Wednesday, April 21, however Smith clarified that anyone feeling uncomfortable had the liberty to switch the format of their exam, granted there is enough time to make that change prior to the exam date.

“Students can ask to take it at home, really for any reason possible. Whether they are a distance learner, and coming on to campus is an issue for whatever reason, they have another conflict in their schedule, all sorts of reasons, we will help them schedule it to be on a computer, at a later date,” Smith said.

The College Board has faced issues of academic dishonesty with virtual exams through the past year. For the one exam being offered in solely virtual format, AP U.S. History, OPHS and the College Board are both taking measures to ensure that students are being academically honest.

“The first method of preventing academic dishonesty comes from the students and your own sense of morals and your own moral compass … when it comes to the at-home exams, we really have to rely on the security that the College Board builds into their testing app,” Smith said.

The College Board reiterates this message in their lists of ways to ensure academic honesty for students taking virtual exams. any of these methods are not listed so students cannot circumvent them.

“All students should have the same opportunity to succeed on AP Exams. The AP Program maintains strict test administration and security procedures to prevent incidents or improper conduct that could disrupt the test administration or give any student an unfair advantage,” the College Board wrote on the AP Exam Security page.

While the College Board will be engaging in many measures to promote academic honesty, they have decided to remove the requirement of cameras during the live AP Exams. This decision was made after receiving backlash from students concerning their cameras and recording from the exams.

OPUSD and the College Board are working to ensure that all schools offering exams on campus follow all COVID-19 precautionary measures and CDC guidelines for safe interactions.

“We will apply all of the same safety protocols that we use for students to come on campus for in-person learning,” Smith said. “Every student will have a check-in to complete on ParentSquare, [and] their temperature will be read when they come to campus. They will sanitize when they enter the testing room and when they exit. Students will bring their own pencils or writing devices.”