AP World History Exam 2023: Cheating Scandal

May 26, 2023

On Thursday, May 11, a sophomore student was caught cheating on the AP World History Exam in the school gym. In the middle of the first portion of the exam, two proctors believed that they might have seen a phone stuffed up a student’s sleeve.

According to one of the teachers that was present at the time, the official shrink wrap on the second FRQ packet of the student that put the phone up her sleeve was opened before it was allowed. Then, pictures were taken of the prompts. One student reported seeing their peers giggling and looking at screenshots on their phone during the break inside of the girls restroom. This was against the rules because electronics must be turned in at the beginning of the exam and cannot be accessed during breaks. “I believe she was using Chat GPT to try and get AI (artificial intelligence) to write her essays for her,” said a teacher that witnessed the commotion.

Since the use of mobile phones and any sort of electronic technology is strictly prohibited, this put the entire exam at risk. To maintain the security of the test, a student reported what they saw and notified the teachers in charge of monitoring the exam.

In the words of the College Board policies and guidelines, “If you have gained or attempted to gain or share an unfair advantage on any College Board test, or otherwise threatened the integrity of the test, we will prohibit you from taking the SAT or AP Exams.”

The student caught cheating had her score canceled and was prohibited from taking similar exams in the future, but the question then became if the rest of the test takers in the gym should be penalized due to the possibility that the cheater could have shared information to other people in the same testing location. Some girls were interrogated about what happened and if they were involved in the cheating. Sophomores in the gym were forced to stay in their seats for two additional hours to wait for the problem to be resolved.

It was announced that a student was found cheating and since it was such a serious matter, there was a chance that everyone’s scores could be considered invalid. With the possibility that their scores could be canceled, a majority of students were no longer hopeful and did not do their best work on the remainder of the exam once the time resumed. “From what I heard a lot of people didn’t try on the rest of the test because they thought the scores would be canceled,” said an anonymous sophomore.

Since AP World History was most 10th graders’ first Advanced Placement exam, the experience was ruined for many students and they were shown a poor example of what AP testing should look like.

Many students were outraged by someone cheating and worried that the time and effort they put into studying would go to waste. A sophomore student said, “I was really mad because I worked very hard to study for this test just for it to be possibly canceled by one person cheating.” AP World teachers were also disappointed by the academic dishonesty that occurred because they wanted to believe that they had taught their students better than to engage in cheating and dishonest behaviors. Tensions were high and students and teachers alike were upset by what took place.

Later that day, Asst. Principal Dr. Tarvyd sent out an email confirming that innocent students would not have their scores canceled. However, the sophomore who chose to use her phone during the exam had her score canceled and was banned from future tests with the College Board, so her academic life was permanently changed. This restricts the student from taking future AP courses and standardized testing, even though she is not even halfway done with high school yet.

If nothing else, the scandal has shown the importance of integrity during AP testing and the consequences that can take place if cheating occurs.

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