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AP Snafus / Why is the College Board in our Schools?

May 15, 2020 pm31 2:32 pm

In the midst of this pandemic it became clear that the College Board, a private company, could not use its favorite space for AP examinations: public schools across the country.

Why does the AP like using public school space, paid for by local governments, and not its own private space?

Let’s start by asking, what does the College Board pay school systems to use their space?  Oh, and what does it pay school systems for cancelling classes?  And I guess, what does it pay to families for having their children’s classes cancelled?

Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

The College Board steals from families and local governments across the country. But the cost is built in. It’s hidden. But it is real.

The College Board also could not use its favorite proctors. Who do they use to proctor their exams? How do they pay them?

Public School teachers. And the College Board does not pay them. Local school districts pay the College Board’s proctors.

Are these unemployed teachers?

Nope. These teachers have their own classes. While they are proctoring, their classes are not being taught by their regular teachers. They are being taught by subs.

Who pays for the subs? Who compensates the public school students for not getting their regular lessons?

Local school districts. And no one.

The College Board steals from families and local governments across the country. But the cost is built in. It’s hidden. But it is real.

But COVID interrupted the College Board’s larceny. They were desperate – not only were they losing tens of millions of dollars of free labor and free space – their customer base was at stake. What would happen if schools, kids, teachers and families were not tied tightly to the importance of the tests this not for profit (but wink wink) company produces?

The College Board cobbled together a substitute. Instead of three hour exams, 45 minute exams. No proctors. And they hoped – not for the best – but for minimal negative publicity. Why should kids take these pretend exams? They started backing out. And the College Board, concerned for its own future, decided to make the exams free (of course they were still not paying for proctors or space).


Why were these ever anything more than 45 minute tests? (hint – $$$)

Essays are easier to upload than math work (Maybe 10% of calculus exams were lost to problems uploading – apparently the College Board tweeted additional instructions a few minutes prior to the exam. Bad move guys. Eventually they agreed to give kids another try in June.  But they also blamed the kids.

Here’s some details from a report from Houston:

“With the AP physics, AP government and AP calculus tests, server issues or delays, connection drops and broken links from the e-ticket, which allows the students to log onto the tests successfully.”

College Board, which administers the tests, said their servers never came close to crashing and less than 1 percent of the more than 1 million students who have taken the tests so far encountered technical difficulties.

Firat said they’re spinning those numbers and they aren’t taking responsibility for the glitches.

“Unfortunately, College Board has done nothing but to say it’s not us, it’s you, and that shows a lot of incompetence and uncare for the students and the families at this time,” Firat said.

Here’s something from the Bay:

Ava Osborn, a senior at Oakland Tech who took her AP physics test on Tuesday, was also confounded by the online testing system and could not get answers when her completed test failed to process correctly.

“We spent two hours on hold with the College Board, and the woman on the phone basically said she couldn’t help me,” Osborn said. “I still haven’t been able to file for the makeup test.”

The College Board said on Tuesday that approximately 1% of the more than 1 million students who took the exams, given in 38 subjects, encountered technical difficulties.

That’s roughly 10,000 kids who prepared, paid $94 each and sat through the 45-minute online program.

Jones said she doesn’t believe the 1% number is accurate.

“There’s absolutely no way they could know how many people had problems,” she said. “It’s a blind statement from them that shows they have no empathy for the kids who worked so hard to take these tests.”

The College Board did not respond to The Chronicle’s requests for further comment.

And a report from suburban Chicago:

“Yesterday, “I took the AP Calculus BC exam,” said Hadlaw. “Monday, I took the AP Physics, C mechanics and AP C physics electricity and magnetism test.

“I got an email from my teacher yesterday saying that most of my class had to fill out the retake form, and presumably it’s because they ran into the exact same issue that I ran into,” Hadlaw said.

The Superintendent of District 207 said more than 7% of their students had problems. It’s another issue for students during an already stressful year.

“It’s causing consternation this spring for students who have already missed their graduations, they’re going to miss their graduations, miss proms, miss senior events, miss sporting events,” said Wallace.

He thinks the College Board should have skipped testing this year and adjusted for the situation students are in.

They did a “freebie” to hold onto their market, and did not worry about quality.  And certainly did not worry about the kids. Kind of like their connection to Common Core.

Let’s get them out of our schools. Or at least make them pay to get in.




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