The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

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June 19, 2024

AP Lang exam moved to late-testing date, will be taken on paper

College+Board+officials+offered+only+the+make-up+test+day+as+an+alternative+due+to+the+Maryland+primary+election%2C+which+will+take+place+on+the+original+exam+date.
Duy Bui
College Board officials offered only the make-up test day as an alternative due to the Maryland primary election, which will take place on the original exam date.

Whitman’s AP Language and Composition teachers confirmed as of late October that Whitman students will take the AP Lang exam on May 23, the late-testing date. Students will also take the exam on paper rather than digitally, as the digital format is not available for late testing.

College Board officials offered only the make-up test day as an alternative due to the Maryland primary election, which will take place on the original exam date. Whitman will function as a polling place, and some upperclassmen will be eligible to vote in the election.

Until the College Board introduced seven digital AP exams in 2023, the AP Lang exam was offered only in paper format. Both the paper and digital exams have a multiple choice section and a written free response section composed of three essays.

Although the exam structure is the same for both formats, the testing experiences are quite different, especially on the free response section. AP Lang teacher Christopher Williams, an AP exam reader, has noticed significant differences between digital and paper essays. He said that handwriting, essay length and difficulty structuring the essay are obstacles students face with paper tests.

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“The student has to be more deliberate in how they organize their essays,” Williams said. “Although you can use arrows and strike lines, and you don’t necessarily lose points for doing that, when it’s written on the computer, you can just move things using cut and paste.”

Williams acknowledged that paper and digital essays have different prompts and are graded separately, so while handwriting might be more difficult for students, they are not being compared to students who typed.

Senior Sinan Walji has taken both paper and digital AP exams and said he prefers the digital format.

“There are a lot of people who are able to type better than they are able to handwrite,” Walji said. “I think that typing usually just ends up getting your ideas out quicker, so the kids who are typing are usually at an advantage over the kids who are handwriting.”

Despite the May exam being on paper, Walji has written several practice essays on computers, which might inadequately prepare him for the exam, he said.

Williams also expressed concern that a student with poor handwriting may receive a lower score because exam readers may not be able to decipher what the student wrote.

“In my classroom, I do even less activities on paper than I used to,” Williams said. “As a result, there’s going to be more sloppy handwriting than there would have been in the past.”

Senior Maddie Belanoff took the newly digital AP Lang exam last year and experienced some formatting issues with the unfamiliar testing program. Although she appreciated the ability to type, she preferred being able to annotate a physical copy of the prompts, which is only possible on the paper exam. Belanoff, who is eligible to vote, said she would feel conflicted if she had an exam on an election date.

“I personally think [moving the exam date] is justified because a good chunk of seniors take AP Lang,” Belanoff said. “If I were a junior, though, I would probably be angry because I’d [think], ‘I’m not voting. Why is this getting moved when it doesn’t affect me?’”

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Duy Bui
Duy Bui, Online Production Assistant
Grade 11 Why did you join The B&W? I joined The B&W in hopes of expanding my skill sets. If you were a candle, what scent would you be? A scent that no one likes so that I’d never be lit.

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