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Dear Academic Approach Families and Colleagues:

College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) online testing opened today and the controversies mount, ranging from issues with technology to questions of student conduct to matters of equity.

Technology
AP Physics launched today with some challenges. While College Board’s demo is clear and logical on the AP Coronavirus page, College Board reports that 2% of students had trouble with upload. Many teachers took to Twitter to voice concerns: teacher after teacher after teacher

Student Conduct
Concerns have been raised about the heightened potential for cheating with at-home testing. Given the way the exams are administered, there is nothing save our students’ personal integrity (which is everything) to keep them from being on a group call with friends collaborating on answers. Students should review College Board’s security violation FAQs.

Equity
Possibly the biggest concern about AP testing (and all at-home testing) is equity. Beyond just access to a reliable device and internet access, many low-income students might not have a quiet, secure place to test. Since AP completion can mean credit for college courses low-income students would otherwise have to pay for, their lack of access has real financial consequences.

What’s Next?
Despite these glitches, offering these tests at all was a major accomplishment by College Board–and was overwhelmingly requested by AP students who wanted the opportunity to demonstrate their learning from the year. We’ll be eager to see how tests proceed the rest of this week.

We are hopeful we can find a way as an education system to maintain academic rigor and continuity with reliable, equitable access as we continue to navigate at-home learning. We tell our students mistakes are opportunities to learn, and there is no learning without the analysis of error, but the key to this is the commitment to analysis and a thorough process of correction.

Be well,
Matthew Pietrafetta, Ph.D., Founder & CEO

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