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High school students facing problems submitting online Advanced Placement exams

Posted at 6:53 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 19:53:49-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — High school students across the country are having issues submitting their Advanced Placement exams, which are being taken online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the College Board, who sponsors the AP Exam, less than one percent of the roughly 2.9 million tests have experienced issues submitting. If half of one percent of the test takers were affected, that would be 14,500 students nationally.

The College Board has now created a backup email submission process for those who had issues, but anyone who took the exams between May 11-15 will need to retake their test at the late test administration which will begin first week of June.

“It’s a grind, they have been preparing for this for the last several months and then to all of a sudden have it didn’t work but you can take it again in two weeks,” said Bill Harrell, the Dean of Students at Brownell Talbot College Prepatory School.

He said so far six of the school’s students have experienced troubles. At Brownell Talbot, roughly 80-90 percent of the junior and senior classes took at least one AP Exam. The school is waiving the requirement this year that students need to complete the AP exam if they took an AP course.

“Some students ran out of time due to internet interruptions, one student had an issue where they were able to submit the first half of their answer but the second half of their answer did not go through,” Harrell said. “The stress of taking it at home, the possibility of having problems with submission of answers, we’re giving students the opportunity to opt out of the test at this point.”

The College Board sent the following statement in an email to 3 News Now.

"When we embarked on the effort to offer AP Exams online, we created tools to help guide users through this new experience. After the first few days of testing, our data show the vast majority of students successfully completed their exams, with less than 1 percent unable to submit their responses.

Every year, there is a portion of students who start but do not complete free-response questions, like those that comprise this year’s exams. Rates of completion have been higher for the online exams than on paper/pencil exams, even when considering the population of students who couldn’t successfully upload their response.

We share the deep disappointment of students who were unable to submit responses. Beginning Monday, May 18, and continuing through the makeup window, there is a backup email submission process for browser-based exams.

· This option will only be available for students who were not able to submit in the standard process—and they must then email their responses immediately following their exam.

· These students will see instructions about how to email their response on the page that says, "We Did Not Receive Your Response." The email address that appears on this page will be unique to each student.

· Any student testing between May 18–22 who can't successfully upload their response through the exam platform or send it to us by email, will need to request a makeup exam."

As well, in a tweet sent out Sunday the College Board said those who took AP Tests last week and had issues won’t be able to use the email submissions and will instead have to retake the exam in June.

“We’re at the mercy of technology,” Harrell said. “We tell the kids this isn’t something you signed up for and just support them in any way we can.”

3 News Now reached out to Omaha Public Schools and the Millard Public Schools. Both districts said they are unaware of specific concerns students had regarding the AP exams.

AP exams are continuing through Friday of this week.

Watch reporter Phil Bergman’s story in the above video.