Illustration by Destiny Chow

You tried, College Board: why you failed 2020

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The pandemic forced change to college admissions and the way Advanced Placement (AP) classes operate. However, the College Board failed to adapt the SAT exam and AP courses, placing students at a disadvantage in pursuing a higher education. 

Although submitting SAT scores to colleges is optional this year, the test can still be taken to enhance college applications. The College Board issues in-person tests at facilities with limited capacity rather than online versions. Additionally, many students sign up to boost their admission chances, but the exams are spontaneously cancelled. Continuing their current methods risks test takers’ lives and causes disadvantages to those who want leverage in college admissions. The College Board makes students choose between competitiveness and their safety.

The most challenging courses are AP classes that the College Board supplemented with condensed online exams. The tests failed to accurately gauge students’ knowledge of all the material, and some could not submit their responses due to catastrophic technical difficulties on the College Board’s behalf, forcing them to take a makeup exam later. As several exams were carried out, the College Board suddenly allowed those who encountered those problems to email their responses. This was unfair for those who did not have that alternative because while others waited for their scores, some had to wait until June or accept a zero. This provoked many, making the 2020 AP exams one of the worst within the College Board’s history. 

To assist students in AP courses, the College Board developed “AP Daily,” a collection of videos that teach exam-needed skills. Admittedly, the organization is helping students succeed in both their classes and exams, but the resources are vague, and the video releases are inconsistent with teachers’ pacing. The College Board continues their traditional approach this year by maintaining the curriculum, which is absurd since schools cannot reopen. Refusing to pursue a different path will wreak havoc. 

The College Board is setting up students for failure with their response to the pandemic for AP and SAT, necessitating change in these programs. The organization’s AP Classroom possesses a Secure Lockdown Browser, software that can be utilized to create an online version of the SAT. In regards to AP, with the reduced amount of time spent in class, it is only fair to reduce the amount of content that should be taught while including both multiple-choice and free-response questions. Only by considering these methods can the College Board truly appeal to students’ best interests.

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