AP informational parent meeting

To help dissipate uncertainty surrounding this year’s AP exams and shed light on the vast selection of schedules and test formats, Diamond Bar High School’s AP teachers held an AP exam informational meeting on March 3, via Zoom. 

The virtual gathering was hosted by AP coordinator Jennifer Burns, as well as biology teacher Diana Wai, math teacher Latita Thomas, microeconomics teacher Jill Marquez and AP chemistry instructor Jose Marquez, all of whom attended as representatives of their subjects. 

They confirmed that the College Board will be administering three different types of tests: full-length paper-and-pencil in-person, full-length digital in-person and full-length digital at home. Teachers of each department were in charge of determining the type of exam DBHS would offer to students, having surveyed AP students on what testing method they are most comfortable with. Nonetheless, DBHS offers both in-person and online versions of most exams, giving students a choice as to which format they would prefer.

“There’s a paper and pencil in school and full-length digital exams taken at home, as well as an AP Chinese [exam] taken in school,” Burns said. 

Music, foreign language and history courses have all opted to administer the online exams only. 

“All of the AP History teachers were in agreement that our students would be more successful on the online exam this year,” AP European History teacher Lindsay Arnold said in a video sent out the day after to AP Euro students. “We as the Diamond Bar High School AP History teachers felt that your students would be more successful on an exam that did not have an LEQ style essay, but instead have additional SAQs.”

During the meeting, AP science and math teachers went over the pros and cons of in-person and online testing. 

“We are encouraging our students to take the in-person version,” AP math teacher Thomas said. “You can’t go back to a question once you’ve left it, and you can’t move on until you’ve chosen an answer for the one you’re on, and that is the antithesis of how we like to teach math.”

Thomas also clarified that AP calculus students should not feel pressured to choose any particular version. 

“If virtual is what works best for you, your child is going to be prepared,” Thomas said. 

The staff stated that students who decide to take the exam on campus will have to adhere to strict safety protocols to ensure everyone’s health. 

“As of right now, we have a maximum of 14 students in a room, and they will be positioned six feet away from each other while they are in classrooms,” Burns said. “Proctors are aware of proper mask wear and making sure that students are wearing them the correct way the entire time.” 

The teachers explained that students would be able to choose each of their testing methods using a Google form, which was sent out March 5. Students had until March 10 to make their decisions, giving them time to make a more informed decision.

“The schedule might be adjusted slightly, but everything now is about being flexible,” Principal Reuben Jones said.