Discussion on Paper or Computer AP Testing Continues


Will Hagaman

Discussion on paper/pencil or computerized testing for AP students continues. Illustration made in Canva.

Kat Halepaska, Design Editor

The College Board, a nonprofit organization that connects students to college and distributes the AP test, continues to discuss the paper/pencil dilemma. There’s a schedule in place for the discussion and finalization of the AP test staying online or reverting back to paper pencil. As of Fall 2022, discussions will be held with teachers, administrators and staff with the College Board, Nov. 15 is the “deadline to indicate digital exams in AP Registration and Ordering.” During the Winter season of 2022 going into the new year, training staff will occur to prepare for digital testing, and Mar. 15 will be the final day to decide if AP testing should revert back to paper/pencil, but only if needed.

Forge will be leaving the decision up to a handful of teachers to decide whether the AP test will be going online or virtual. English, AP US history, 10th grade history, and computer principles have the decision to go back to paper pencil or online and need to make a decision by the end of October.

I asked my kids, what do you guys think, and it was pretty unanimous that they’d rather type.

— Mr. Tlumack

If a student thinks they will do better on the online test instead of the paper pencil one, accommodation can be made for that student. “Now if a student came up to me and said Mrs. Raines, I really am bad at taking paper pencil, then I would make an accommodation for that student,” assistant principal Mrs. Raines said.

With the College Board discussing if tests should remain online, AP teachers have been constantly expressing their opinion on the matter.

After a year and a quarter, students adapted to the virtual lifestyle. Some students find virtual testing easier, and so may teachers. Ms. Karen Roark’s opinion was it would be better for AP English students to test on paper for the purpose of annotation.

“A lot of times, when you’re reading and you’re processing, you need to track your comprehension. When students have a piece of paper, they can notation on the side, their epiphanies as they’re reading,” Ms. Roark stated.

With the results of her past students’ AP tests, she observed that when they take the test on paper, they get higher test scores.

“A lot of kids last year who had spotty Wi-Fi, the test crapped out and they lost the test,” she said. According to the College Board, this glitch has been fixed.

One worry is if the test is paper/pencil, students may take longer writing than typing their responses to a text. “You might see that kid who got a three because they ran out of time, they get a four now because they didn’t have to go back and erase and write over.” Mr. Aaron Tlumack said.

The College Board has outlined their plan, labeled the “Technology Overview”, with digital testing and how they will proceed. Trained AP coordinators and staff will be on site for any technical difficulties that may be encountered. Students are encouraged, but not required, to use school run devices, but must install “the app” to make sure their test is monitored. “The app” is not easily updated yearly, so a new one is created each year, this year’s app is yet to be out.