Although the senior class at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School graduated on June 8, their high school studies may not be over just yet. Some members of the senior class and their younger schoolmates are being asked to retake certain Advanced Placement exams after the school received an allegation about improper testing conditions.
In a letter sent to high school families last week, acting principal Matt D’Andrea said that “during the AP testing there was a violation of one of the seating protocols for test security.”
According to Mr. D’Andrea, a student reported to the College Board that they felt the seating arrangement enabled students to cheat.
“The College Board’s rules say that everyone should be sitting in the same direction during the test,” Vineyard Schools superintendent Dr. James H. Weiss told the Gazette Monday. “It appears that there were a couple of students who were not facing in the same direction.”
The Educational Testing Service (ETS), which develops and administers AP exams, told Mr. D’Andrea about the issue at the end of May. Prior to the report from ETS, Mr. Weiss said he had heard “no complaints whatsoever” from families or students about the testing environment.
Although Mr. Weiss said he was not aware of any variance among the seating arrangements for the different AP exams, only four of the school’s 13 Advanced Placement courses will have to retake their exams. As a result of the allegation, students in AP World History, AP U.S. History, AP English Literature and Composition, and AP English Language and Composition will have their scores invalidated. In order to list their scores on the common application and potentially gain college credit for their coursework, students can opt to retake these exams, although they are not required to do so.
The makeup dates are July 14 through 17. One exam will be administered on each day beginning at 8 a.m. Testing will take place in the school’s library conference room.
Students who wish to retake the exams will be provided with support from the high school. One two-hour study session will be held at the high school for each course, with the classes taking place between July 7 and July 10. To sign up for the makeup exams, students must call 508-693-1033, ext. 126 by July 3 or email Ruda Stone, administrative assistant to the principal, at email@example.com.
“If your child chooses to not take the exam,” Mr. D’Andrea wrote in his letter to families, “your child’s AP designation with final grade will still be on his/her transcript, and the initial fee will be refunded.”
In his letter, Mr. D’Andrea also apologized for the school’s error and acknowledged the inconvenience it might cause for students, some of whom may not be on the Island or even in the country for the scheduled makeup dates.
Students who took the exams do not have their test results yet and are due to receive them on July 9.
Mr. Weiss expressed sympathy for the students who will have to interrupt their summer break to prepare to retake the exams.
“I think this is unfortunate,” he said. “The acting high school principal worked extremely hard to try to convince the College Board and the ETS that this is a wrong decision and was unable to prevail.”