NEW YORK - Jack McVeety had no problem finishing the first question of his Advanced Placement Calculus exam in the allotted 25 minutes. It was the five minutes he had to upload his answer that was the issue.

“Something happened, and I couldn’t locate the file on my computer. And so this wouldn’t have been such a big issue if I just had a little bit more time to submit," McVeety noted.

He’s not alone. Enough students nationwide reported being unable to submit their answers that the College Board, which administers the exams, announced that beginning this week a back-up system will allow students to email their answers. But that won’t help Jack McVeety and other students who took the exam last week. The College Board says they have to take the tests again in early June.

"Now I sort of have to hope that they have the same kind of material and the same kind of level of difficulty in the makeup," McVeety said.

The exams are used to award college credit to high school students. The College Board, which also administers the SATs, has not provided raw numbers of how many students were unable to finish, but says it was less than one percent of all test takers.

The city Education Department says about 80,000 of its students take an AP exam each year and calls the technical errors "unacceptable." 

Patrick Sprinkle, one of Jack’s teachers at the New York City Lab School for Collaborative Studies in Chelsea, says about 10 percent of the students in his A.P. U.S. History class were unable to submit their answers.

“I spent a great deal of time consoling crying students on the phone" said Sprinkle. "It’s incredibly disheartening for kids who, frankly, don’t want to take the test a second time to have to. I’ve counseled kids who didn’t want to take it, not to, it’s not worth the stress in the middle of a pandemic to take these exams."

As for Jack, calculus is one of four AP classes he took this year. He spoke to NY1 minutes after finishing his Earth Science exam without issue. It was supposed to be his last one.

"Today was supposed to be the day that I was done and got to just enjoy the rest of my senior year," McVeety said.

He says he'll start studying, again, next week for the calculus exam.


Main story image: A December 3, 2013, file photo of a Global Studies class of 10th and 11th graders working at Bedford Academy High School. Bebeto Matthews/AP.



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