College Board Moves AP Tests to Early April, Cites Student Cheating as Cause
by Kenny Larson
For many Northsiders, the month of May is infamously known for its standardized testing, particularly for those that are enrolled in AP courses with an end of year exam. For the first two weeks of the month, students from across the country take their examinations in hopes that they will do well enough to illustrate to colleges and universities that they do not need to retake the course again in college.
This year, however, students across the midwest will be required to take their examinations earlier. College Board, the college-planning service responsible for organizing nationwide AP exams, released an announcement on their website last week noting that testing dates in the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois would need to be moved about a month in advance in order to help alleviate concerns regarding unethical behavior among students. Students were directed to refer to their respective College Board account for more specific information as to when the new testing dates would be.
Alex Perman, Adv. 906, was outraged at the announcement. “I was planning on being able to relax over my spring vacation,” said Perman, “but now it seems like I am going to have to study for two different tests instead.” The notice has also been criticized by students and teachers alike for its lack of publicity and explanation for the decision. When asked about their thoughts on the sudden testing change, very few students or teachers at Northside had even heard that a change in testing dates had occurred. Moreover, until March 18, College Board had failed to publicly divulge any information as to what specific instances of cheating and unethical conduct students had been engaging in, not to mention more specifically within the aforementioned states.
College Board, however, clarified that its change in schedule was a result of ethically questionable information-sharing online. Although the activity occurred most notably among students in the Milwaukee, Chicago, and Detroit areas, College Board clarified that more rural regions of each state had seen similar incidences of cheating as well. “At the end of each examination,” read the most recent announcement released by the college-planning service, “College Board very clearly reminds students of its strict no information-sharing policies, which include online content. Our decision to move testing dates forward will allow us to more closely monitor students’ internet activity in areas where students have been most inclined to share information about test content.”
For many Northsiders, this seemed like an unnecessary reaction for what many students regarded as a peccadillo. Mario Cook, Adv. 904, commented that while he had indeed discussed the content of an AP exam outside of the testing environment, he never saw the harm in it given that, at that point in time (after the exams), most other students across the United States had taken the test anyway. Moreover, Cook felt that the change in schedule was unfairly targeted at certain groups of students. “I have a really difficult time believing that students in places like Michigan or Illinois talk more about AP exams online than in other states,” said Cook. “It almost feels like they targeted us for no reason, which is honestly really typical. I’m not even surprised.” Similarly, Anton Outkine, Adv. 009, said that he felt like he was being held accountable for something he never even did. “I haven’t even taken an AP exam yet,” said Outkine, “and now I have to take my [AP United States History] test way earlier than I had planned. Where am I going to find the time to study?”
Despite the protests, all signs seem to indicate that College Board has no intention of reverting the schedule to the original testing dates. Whether or not the organization will be able to uncover any evidence of cheating or questionable behavior online has yet to be seen, as well as if the shift in dates will affect tests in future years as well. Students are highly encouraged to check their College Board profile and discuss with their teachers to receive updated information as soon as possible.