Coronavirus and The College Board: How COVID-19 is affecting students nationwide

As we progress further into May, COVID-19 continues to cause damage to every corner of the globe, taking with it lives, the economy, and jobs in record numbers. Our front-line responders and essential workers have persisted and continue to work despite the tremendous difficulties, and most small businesses are struggling to function at their normal capacity. Social media everywhere is covering the plight of the high school and college graduating classes of 2020 by trying to celebrate their accomplishments from a distance. Turn on any news channel, and there is a good chance that the discussion will revolve around at least one of the aforementioned topics.

However, there is another victim of the coronavirus that has been neglected until now: AP students. 

All over the country, teenagers have spent the entire school year studying and preparing for spring examinations that could aid in future college acceptances as well as earn them college credit. Because school shutdowns are worldwide, The College Board, which administers and regulates the Advanced Placement courses and examinations, switched the 2019-2020 AP Exams to a completely online format for the first time in its history. This decision was met with a variety of opinions from students around the country.

El Taverna is a senior from Dubuque Senior High School in Dubuque, Iowa who was set to take the exams for AP Literature, Psychology, Government, and Macroeconomics before the COVID-19 shutdown. 

“I’ve decided not to take the tests because of the way this year went. I feel as though the testing didn’t have the chance to be comprehensive,” Taverna said. 

 

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The year being cut short is not the only matter that is concerning students. Jackie Lasselle, a senior from Elmwood Park High School in Elmwood Park, Illinois, worries about the discrepancies that online testing can create between students of different socioeconomic backgrounds. 

“AP tests in a normal year already give advantages to certain students who have extra resources such as teaching, tutoring, and over all better test taking abilities,” Lasselle said, “but with the new changes and the virtual format, this year gives an even more disadvantage to lower class households.”

Noah Scudder, a senior from Troy Athens High School in Troy, Michigan, believes that these changes represent a deeper issue within the organization itself. 

“The College Board’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is only another example of how the predatory for-profit education system only benefits shareholders, and not the students,” Scudder said. “The College Board has no regard for the hard work students put into courses throughout the entire year. They’re charging us $100 to test our understanding of a subject through two questions.”

Students are able to request a refund for prepaid examinations, but the fact remains that these tests are essential to many students’ transition to higher education. 

“As a future educator, it’s difficult to see such a large organization value profit over students, and it’s difficult to focus on exam content under our current circumstances,” Ellie Friedman from Walled Lake Central in West Bloomfield, Michigan said, “but I am still preparing for the exams and trying to do my best.”

 

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