AP test proctored incorrectly, scores may be cancelled

Jack Stenglein

On the morning of May 6, thousands of students across the nation were putting the finishing touches on their essays as the last few seconds of the AP English Literature exam ran out. However, 117 seniors in the PE gym still had 15 minutes left to write. Because of a proctoring error, these students’ scores could all be cancelled.

During the break between the multiple choice and the writing sections, the wind from the air conditioning in the PE gym blew the page on the proctor’s instruction book from the English Literature test to the English Language exam, the one that the juniors take. The English Language exam contains a 15-minute reading period that the other test does not have, giving the students in the gym extra time to plan and write their essays.

However, counselor Heidi Sauer, who makes sure all the AP tests run smoothly, soon noticed that something had gone wrong.

“After I had checked the PE gym, I checked the other [English Literature] room and noticed a discrepancy of about 15 minutes,” Sauer said. “The two rooms had started at basically the same time, so I started looking, and I realized his page was on English Language.”

After the test ended, Sauer consulted her AP manual and, following the instructions inside, wrote a report of the mistiming and provided the names of all 117 students in the room to College Board. She then called College Board to confirm that she had followed all the necessary steps. However, after all that, she is still not sure what will happen with the scores.

“Nobody knows what will happen,” Sauer said. “I was told that College Board would score the tests and then evaluate the amount of overtiming and decide what to do. There’s not even a time frame for that. The entire country sends scores, so it’s a fairly lengthy process.”

If the scores are cancelled, the students will have the option to retake it. However, since the exam was taken by seniors, it is unlikely that many will take that option.

“I think [the people retaking it] would only be those who felt there was something to be gained, like if they wanted credit,” Sauer said.

Fortunately for the seniors in this group, Sauer said she thinks they may not have to retake it.

“It’s possible there is no consequence,” Sauer said. “There might just be an asterisk beside the score to indicate an irregularity. College Board will communicate with the students when they have made a decision, whether through letter or email.”