Important Updates on the Spring 2021 Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate Examinations and SAT
In February 2021, the College Board and International Baccalaureate (IB) announced changes to spring 2021 Advanced Placement (AP) and IB examinations. MCPS has reviewed available options, consulted with stakeholders and considered the operational, safety and health measures needed to successfully administer AP/IB exams in May 2021. Below is a summary of how MCPS will offer these exams for our students:
- AP Exams: As MCPS expects to administer more than 45,000 exams and many high schools will be at capacity with in-person instruction, the at-home digital option will be the default AP exam format for MCPS students when available. The College Board has fully validated the at-home digital option and will ensure complete access to score reporting and the ability to earn college credit.
In most cases, students will be able to select from two available testing dates. For students with certain accommodations or special circumstances that require an in-person exam, arrangements will be made by the local school. Some exams, such as specific world languages and music theory, must be administered in-person, according to the College Board, and will be scheduled by the local school.
An overview of the MCPS AP exam schedule can be found here.
What happens next?
- Beginning Thursday, April 8, the College Board Digital Testing Application will be automatically installed on MCPS-issued Chromebooks. For non-MCPS personal devices, directions for installation will be shared with students by the school AP coordinator.
- Once the application is installed, students will be able to begin practicing sample questions. Students will be able to answer each type of question that they will encounter on the actual exam, as well as learn about what to expect on exam day. More information about AP Digital Testing can be found here.
- Your local high school school will contact you to select testing dates, confirm the format and provide an exam checklist. If you have a special circumstance or accommodation that requires an in-person exam, please inform your teacher or AP coordinator. Final schedules will be shared with each student in their AP Classroom.
- To prepare for success, AP students can watch AP Daily on-demand learning videos in the College Board’s AP Classroom, for every topic and skill in each AP course.
- Students can tune into AP Daily: Live Review on YouTube between April 19-29 for live review sessions in each subject area.
- Additional AP exam support and preparation is also offered through Saturday School. Registration information for Saturday sessions can be found here.
- If you have additional questions, please contact your AP teacher or school AP coordinator.
- International Baccalaureate (IB) Exams: Earlier in the year, the IB Organization required school districts to decide the format for all May 2021 exams, either a traditional paper/pencil examination or submission of internal assessments. Based on this timeline, input from stakeholders and benchmarking with other districts, MCPS will proceed with the submission of internal assessments and IB coursework, in lieu of traditional in-person exams. This will allow students the opportunity to earn the full IB Diploma or Course Certificate based on the score they are awarded, as was done in 2020.
What happens next?
- Internal assessments will be completed within the course using criteria set by the IB Organization. They can be a paper, project, oral exam, workbook or series of experiments, depending on the individual IB class.
- IB teachers will communicate with students about the completion of required internal assessments as required by subject areas. Internal assessments and criteria marks will be submitted for all students to IB for final scores.
- If you have additional questions, please contact your IB teacher or school IB coordinator.
The SAT will be offered at no cost to all current Grade 11 students in every MCPS high school on Tuesday, April 13, during the school day. April 13 will be an asynchronous learning day for high school students to support an optimal testing environment, the need for physical distancing throughout each building, and the need for staff support. That week’s instructional schedule will be adjusted so that scheduled synchronous instruction continues on Wednesday, April 14.
Note on PSAT: In order to accommodate SAT testing and the reopening of schools, the PSAT 10 for Grade 10 students will not be administered in April, but will be offered to all current Grade 10 students at no cost in October 2021.
Clarification for Graduating Seniors (April 8 Update)
In most cases, students will be able to select from two available testing dates. As a result, graduating seniors have options that include testing before the last instructional day for seniors, May 28, 2021; or, during the third testing window, June 1-11, 2021. Some students have indicated preference for the June testing dates, to allow more time for study and preparation.
- For AP Exams with only one option for At-Home Digital reflected in the June administration, there may be conflicts with high school graduation day, or for seniors who prefer to test before the last day for seniors. In those cases, students/parents/guardians may contact the local high school to arrange for in-school testing in the earlier exam windows. Graduating seniors maintain the option of At-Home Digital testing during the June administration, even if occurring after graduation day.
- For other students (non-seniors) who have a special circumstance or accommodation that requires an in-person exam instead of At-Home Digital, students/parents/guardians should inform the AP teacher or AP coordinator so that arrangements can be made by the local school, based on available capacity.