AP tests to be held in-person, paper pencil

Kris Long, Sports Editor

Despite recent announcements about changes to Advanced Placement testing procedures, Manhattan High students will not experience any changes from dates or forms listed on the College Board website. Students also don’t have to choose between online and in-person tests, as some may have believed.

“[College Board] really wants you to do Administration One, which is paper and pencil, just like we’ve always done it over in the north gym and other rooms that we can use,” AP coordinator Bev Fink said. “[Students] will take the paper-pencil and I will make contact with them if they aren’t able to take them. They don’t get a choice. I have to make the choice.”

AP testing will be held in three, two-week-long slates. All Manhattan High students are presumed to be taking AP tests in the first administration, which includes only in-person paper and pencil tests. Students with extenuating circumstances — like having two tests scheduled for the same time — can take their tests in the second and third administration. These tests can be paper and pencil or online but will be taken at the high school with a proctor, not at home, as they were last spring during the COVID-19 remote testing. 

There is also a third administration testing, but these take place in June when teachers are off-contract so MHS will try to avoid these test dates. Mandatory in-person testing includes remote students who would otherwise not be in public spaces. 

While some areas of the country do need some of these other options, COVID-19 is not currently severe enough in Kansas to keep schools closed, so they cannot justify unsupervised testing.

“[Some tests] are online, but I’m still going to have to supervise it,” Fink said. “My concern is if we go to do it at home…. you’re going to have to be some precaution. Somehow, College Board is going to have to know that everything is being done appropriately with security. They will shut Manhattan High School [AP Tests] down if they think that our students have gotten by with something that was not appropriate.”

Students cannot opt for online tests because they think they will be easier or so their test can be typed. However, teachers and administration are sure that students will score the same or better with in-person testing, despite half a year in hybrid. 

“I am pleased that they are going back to the paper and pencil,” AP Environmental Science teacher Clancy Livingston said. “I think that’s still, for the most part, how students are used to taking tests. So if anything, I think it’ll be good overall.”

Teachers also have concerns about the online tests that have led MHS away from them. They are three hours long this year, rather than the 45-minute abridged versions given last spring. The longer window of time creates more possibilities for technical malfunctions and there isn’t a clear plan for makeup tests that weren’t submitted. 

“AP teachers are very concerned that if you do a three-hour test online… that’s a long time to be tied to your phone or your iPad,” Fink said. “And they just have said to me they would rather their students were more concerned about the content than they are: Did the IPad work? Do they have a hot spot?”

More information continues to come out from College Board, so information is still tentative. However, as Manhattan is managing in-person school and is doing so successfully, students shouldn’t expect much deviation from the normal AP format.
“Don’t be hard on College Board,” Fink said. “I wouldn’t want to be doing their decision-making that they’re having to do right now… They’re trying to do what’s best for you kids.”