College Board Says AP Testing a Success

But organization is sued over rules that were in place for students unable to submit their answers.

May 26, 2020

The College Board continued to face criticism -- and a lawsuit -- last week over the Advanced Placement testing program. On Friday, the board issued a press release that said 93 percent of students had completed their exams, up from 91 percent last year. The College Board said in the press release that reasons for not completing in an exam vary. "There are many reasons why students might not complete an exam, including illness, difficulty of a question, interruptions, or simply running out of time. Those reasons each hold true this year as well," the release said.

Students whose AP exams could not be submitted last week have filed a federal class action suit against the College Board. Many students could not submit their answers and were told that they would have to take a makeup exam next month. The suit seeks to force the College Board to score their answers. FairTest: The National Center for Fair & Open Testing joined the suit, which claims breach of contract, gross negligence, misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Plaintiffs will seek “compensatory damages in an amount that exceeds $500 million” and “punitive damages in an amount sufficient to punish defendants” and “to deter them from engaging in wrongful conduct in the future."

“The College Board rushed ‘untested’ AP computerized exams into the marketplace in order to preserve the testing company’s largest revenue-generating program after schools shut down this spring, even though they were warned about many potential access, technology and security problems,” said Robert Schaeffer, FairTest’s interim executive director. “Even if only 1 percent of test takers could not transmit their answers because the College Board’s technology was not ready for prime time, at least 20,000 students were affected.”

Peter Schwartz, the College Board's general counsel, issued a statement earlier last week that said, "When the country shut down due to coronavirus, we surveyed AP students nationwide, and an overwhelming 91 percent reported a desire to take the AP exam at the end of the course. Within weeks, we redesigned the AP Exams so that they could be taken at home. Nearly 3 million AP Exams have been taken over the first seven days. Those students who were unable to successfully submit their exam can still take a makeup and have the opportunity to earn college credit. This lawsuit is a PR stunt masquerading as a legal complaint being manufactured by an opportunistic organization that prioritizes media coverage for itself. It is wrong factually and baseless legally; the College Board will vigorously and confidently defend against it, and expect to prevail."

Share Article

Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

Back to Top