On May 10, just a few days before Advanced Placement tests were scheduled to begin for high-schoolers around the world, a Reddit user, Dinosauce313, created a new subreddit, APTests2020. Its stated purpose? “A community of students taking the 2020 AP Exams and wanting to use online resources while doing so.” As a result of coronavirus, all AP testing has moved online this year. Students are taking modified, shorter versions of the traditional tests, and this year’s iterations are open-book. Using class notes, or even Googling during the test, is kosher. The College Board, the organization that administers the exams, says wasting time doing so will not ultimately be beneficial given the way the truncated tests are written. What is not kosher, however, is conferring with another person during the exam. So Dinosauce313’s proposed efforts would be grounds for consequences, should any students get caught participating in a collective testing scheme.
Some things about Dinosauce313 didn’t strike other Redditors, namely real high-schoolers preparing for their exams, quite right. The account was created at the beginning of April, just a few weeks before the subreddit’s debut, and spoke in a lexicon that read more how do you do, fellow kids than, well, “How do you do, fellow kids.” On several social platforms, a theory began brewing: Dinosauce313 was actually a College Board employee setting a honey trap to catch would-be cheaters and disqualify them. The College Board had previously announced it would be using “digital security tools to detect plagiarism,” a nebulous description that some interpreted to mean this alleged sting. “No teenager speaks like this,” one TikTok user said in a video, breaking down the College Board’s alleged actions. The same day the APTests2020 subreddit was created, Trevor Packer, the senior vice-president of Advanced Placement and instruction at the College Board, tweeted that the organization had “just cancelled the AP exam registrations of a ring of students who were developing plans to cheat, and we’re currently investigating others.”