ACT online testing commentary

Scott Girard:

Ethan Yang had to recopy his essay into unfamiliar software as the clock ran down on the Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics exam Monday.

The Memorial High School senior hit submit with seconds left, but the “Congratulations” screen never popped up — instead, he saw a message about the test being over due to the time.

“What we don’t know is if it was actually submitted,” his teacher, David Olson, said the next day. “Ethan may have to end up taking the make-up exam in June because of an upload issue.”

Monday was the first of two weeks straight of AP tests for high school students around the country. The tests, which can earn students college credits at a fraction of the cost, are being done online for the first time amid school closures for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ethan’s story wasn’t unique, as others reported some technical issues as well. West High School math teacher Sigrid Murphy said she knows of three issues among the 140 or so West students who took the calculus exam Tuesday.

“It’s not great that it happens to anyone, and now you have to worry about whether you have to retake it in June, but that’s not terrible considering how many people worldwide were taking it at the same time,” Murphy said.