Ap exams go digital

Multiple exams scheduled to be online at Jones for the first time


This year, students enrolled in four Advanced Placement (AP) courses will take their AP exams online, following College Board’s summer announcement.  

 Though the College Board offers 7 exams on a digital platform, due to sizing and space, it has only been confirmed that Jones will be utilizing the online format for three: AP English Literature and Composition (AP Lit), AP European History (AP Euro), and AP Seminar. The AP U.S. History (APUSH) exam may also be taken digitally, but due to the large number of students enrolled in the class, more discussions must be had by administration. 

Though digital exams are offered, it is up to individual schools to choose whether and how these options will work for their students.

“From the summer PD (College Board’s professional development workshop) I learned that it’s up to the school on how to decide who’s going to take this, is it going to be all the subjects, are the kids going to decide, or are the teachers going to decide,” said Assessment Coordinator Nicole Guevara.

In determining which AP Exams would be offered online to Jones students, administration worked with AP teachers to reach a decision

“We looked at the subjects that were being offered. I looked at the testing schedule and also at the number of students I have testing. I talked to the tech coordinator, to see what was possible, how many could be online at the same time,” said Guevara. “And that is how I decided which courses it [digital exam platforms] could be an option for. Then, Mr. Mitchell and I decided that it would be up to the course teachers, and the teachers teaching those courses would have to collectively agree.”

In making their decision, teachers looked at the exams themselves to see which format would be most beneficial for their students. 

“The way that Mr. Smith and I went about the decision for APUSH was that since APUSH is such a time crunch, if students had the opportunity to type instead of hand write, they would be able to get a lot more content on paper,” said APUSH teacher Cheryl Verhey. “It was especially Mr. Smith who said that’s a benefit that we should not pass up,” said APUSH teacher Cheryl Verhey. 

Some students agree with this aspect about the digital exams and are excited to be able to type rather than hand write essays. 

“Personally I think it’s good because I find it hard to go back and edit my work while I’m writing things manually,” said AP Lit student Anshul Kelley ‘23. “We all get a little bit more tired when we have to write for three hours straight and a lot of people can type faster than they can write, so I just overall think it’s [digital exams] beneficial for students.”

Those who have to oversee AP testing are especially excited about the lack of materials that need to be distributed and accounted for.  

“I don’t have all the details [about the paper situation] but that was one of the things I was personally excited about,” said Guevara. “It’s really hard on a day of testing to get those materials out, to get them back, make sure I have everything, and to get everything ready for the next day. Now, there’s no pencils, paper, or labels.”

Though the testing process could be more efficient with digital exams, there is still the possibility of tech malfunctions.

“I think that anytime you do something for the first time with tech, there’s always going to be things that you don’t anticipate,” said AP Lit teacher Mary Anne Siegel. “We have a pretty great tech team here at Jones and people working hard to make it [technology use] as seamless as possible. But if there’s anything I’ve learned in the past three years, it’s that there are things that you never even thought about that can happen.”

For some, the transition to online AP exams makes sense as they follow global trends of mass technology use and digitalization.

“I think teachers like it [digital exams]. I think students like it, that’s what they’re used to now. I think it makes everyone more comfortable,” said Guevara.