Students to take AP exams at home, but will FL universities grant college credits for passing scores?

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As high school students prepare to take tough Advanced Placement exams in their homes in May, colleges and universities are discussing whether they’ll grant college credits for passing scores, given the unusual at-home testing environment.

The test administrator, the nonprofit College Board, believes colleges will grant college credits to students with passing scores, despite the circumstances connected to the coronavirus pandemic.

At issue is that the AP students will be allowed to use open book or open notes when testing — security issues that some families might be concerned about following the recent college admissions scandal.

High school students across the country take the AP course as well as the exams. Students need at least a score of 3, 4 and 5 to pass. Students who get passing scores can get college credits, which saves on tuition.

Officials at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, say no decisions have been made yet on how to handle accepting college credits in connection with at-home testing.

Rachel Williams, of UCF Communications, said in an email to the Phoenix:

“We are currently having discussions at the state level but no final decisions have been made. We are gathering information to understand the impact this will have so that we can determine a solution that supports students.”

Amid concerns about COVID-19 infections, Florida high school students in Advanced Placement classes will take the exams in their homes using electronic devices, such as computers, tablets and smartphones.

The College Board offers at least three dozen AP exams ranging from U.S. History to chemistry, macroeconomics and Spanish language and culture.

The Phoenix contacted other colleges and are awaiting responses.

Jerome White, of College Board communications, told the Phoenix that they “are confident that the vast majority of higher education institutions will award credit as they have in the past.”

“We’ve spoken with hundreds of institutions across the country who support our solution for this year’s AP Exams,” he said.

In a previous Florida Phoenix report, the College Board said “the exams will only include topics and skills most AP teachers and students have already covered in class by early March.”

The organization surveyed 18,000 students who said they still want to take the exam to get college credit.

That benefits the College Board as well. While the College Board is a nonprofit, it does make money. The millions of AP exams have costs, though some students in financial need can get reduced fees.

Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.