AP 48 Hour Rule

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Discus: SAT/ACT Tests and Test Preparation: May 2004 Archive: AP 48 Hour Rule
By Hypatia67 (Hypatia67) on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 07:36 pm: Edit

I'm starting a new thread because the other takes too long to read.

I don't think it is worth the risk to talk about the tests. Our teacher said the reason they re-use some of the MC questions is to establish the curve. They compare this year's scores based on how people do on the common questions from one year to the next.

Our AP Teacher received this from the College Board before the tests:

The following is a note from the College Board:

April 2004

Dear AP Teacher or Administrator:

I felt it would be helpful and appropriate to share with you some examples
of recent violations of the security of AP Exams, and a description of the
actions the Advanced Placement Program takes in such cases to preserve
fair testing opportunities for all students. Because of the ease with
which students can use cell phones to photograph and then, in a matter of
seconds, e-mail the photograph elsewhere, please remind students and
proctors of the strict prohibition against cell phones and other
electronic devices in the exam room, and of the legal and financial
consequences of violating exam security.

Recent Security Issues & College Board Responses

A) Several dozen students relied upon their fairly accurate memories to
reconstruct one of the 2003 AP Exams on the Web last summer. These
students were identified and, per the agreement they had signed on the
exam date not to disclose the exam questions, their exam grades were
cancelled. Notification was sent to the colleges and universities the
students had designated as AP grade recipients. Repeatedly, these students
stated that they wished their teachers or proctors had emphasized the
importance of not disclosing the questions; some have stated that the
nonchalance with which their teachers discussed exam material following
the exam led them to believe that there would be no serious consequences
for disseminating the exam questions via the Web.

B) Following the exam, several teachers conducted "debriefing sessions" in
which, question-by-question, the exam was reconstructed. These teachers
then compiled and circulated these questions, or provided them to next
years' students, as a way of giving them an advantage on the exam. The
College Board successfully filed legal action against these teachers.

C) An AP Coordinator removed an AP Exam from locked storage the night
before the exam administration, placing it in a file on her desk so that
it would be "easy for her to deliver the next morning to the exam room." A
student spotted the exam, took it, scanned it into a computer, and posted
it on a Web site. Because the AP Coordinator provided us with immediate
notification of the missing exam, we did not take legal action against the
school or Coordinator; only the student was held responsible for this
violation of College Board copyright. But because the school did not
follow the requirement to keep all AP Exams in locked storage, the school
is not allowed to offer AP Exams on site, and has been required to find
other schools willing to administer exams to its students.

We are committed to serving students, teachers, and schools by providing
fair and reliable assessments that are trusted by colleges and
universities worldwide. Our ability to provide this service is
compromised by intentional or unintentional violations of AP security
policies. We are confident that you, your colleagues, and your students
share a commitment to the security of examinations, but because many
security violations result from an incomplete understanding of the
policies, we want to take this opportunity to provide some examples and
explanations. Please share this information with your school counselors,
other teachers, and students so that unintentional violations do not

Does this mean that AP teachers can't discuss the exam content with their
students in class following the AP Exam administration?

AP teachers should certainly take an opportunity to discuss the exam with
their students, but the focus should be on a general discussion of topics
on the exam, rather than a description of individual questions. We'd
encourage you to begin any "post-AP" discussion by reminding students of
their agreement not to disclose specific multiple-choice questions, and
accordingly, to focus on describing overall trends within the exam rather
than specific questions. For example, it's perfectly appropriate to ask
students how well your course prepared them for topics X on the exam, and
to discuss areas for which student felt especially prepared or unprepared.
You should avoid, however, asking questions that would lead students to
discussing actual multiple-choice questions. For example, instead of
asking, "Were there any multiple choice questions about X," you could ask,
"Was your knowledge of X sufficient for what the exam required?"

The free-response questions, of course, can be discussed in their entirety
when they are posted on the AP Central Web site 2 business days following
each exam administration.

By Jinglebells666 (Jinglebells666) on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 07:49 pm: Edit

The rule is stupid because: You just finished the test, and you're talking to all your friends who also just finished the test. Simply discussing the test does not allow anyone to cheat.

I can understand why they don't want them discussed online because people can record the Q/A and save them for next year.

Besides, the College Board is evil, why are you all slaves to them?

By Rbc13 (Rbc13) on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 08:11 pm: Edit

I agree, the rules do suck, after the exam for APUSH, I just wanted to tell my teacher all of the questions on the test, but couldn't because of the agreement. I have an excellent memory, and in my past years, I have been prone to give other people questions on some tests. I just feel this innate urge to challenge my memory, and help others at the same time. But I have realized that it is of no use to me, and can only hurt me, so I have stopped this year.

But they are rules, and all rules need to be followed. We shouldn't let arrogance get in the way, and call them evil though. If you think about it, then the rules almost make sense. They don't want people in different time frames to hear MC questions such the free response rule. The reason we have to pay 82 bucks is that if not for the money everybody would take the test to get out of finals. The grading of the test would have to be in an ACT or SAT manner, and soon people would be taking 15 AP tests a year to increase their grade like the SAT. All would go crazy, and the world would explode. Case in point the rules are actually valid, and although they aren't fun, they are the law.

When you were told to do your homework when you were young, it wasn't fun, but something that needed to be done. It was done for the better, not to hurt you, but to help you

By Feuler (Feuler) on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 08:21 pm: Edit

They can't very well draw the line between discussing in person and discussing online. The rule is perfectly reasonable. Of course students will break it by discussing questions with other students, and the I think CB knows that. However, if they are aware of the consequences, they will be careful about it, and the discussion will be limited to some casual conversations between people who have already taken the test. Obviously this is harmless, but exceptions are problematic, so it is better to just have a simply stated rule. Kids talking about the tests with other kids are not going to get caught, so there really is no problem with having it technically against the contract, unless you are neurotically idealistic.

I would also like to mention that although I personally think Collegeboard is poorly run and inefficient in general, "evil" is a strong label. If there were no collegeboard or similar organization, college admissions would be even more arbitrary than they are now. Some changes would be good, but there's no reason to get all "VIVA LA REVOLUTION!" about it.

By Conker (Conker) on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 09:39 pm: Edit

Feuler, you mention "discussing online", but how would e-mails and instant messages be monitored? I'll admit that I'm not a computer person, so perhaps I am unaware of the possibilities permitted by modern technology.

I think that Collegeboard's rule is fair. Hypatia is right. They reuse questions in order to help them set the scale.

By Tri_N (Tri_N) on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 10:31 pm: Edit


I don't think ETS can monitor AP discussion over AIM or email. However, I see where they're coming. At the end of the day, ETS have to choose between different risks. Through email and AIM, your discussion can only reach a limited audience. However, if you post in on a public forum, your message will reach a larger number of readers. Because of this free access, these informations will reach cheaters easier and faster.

Personally, I think that ETS hopes cheaters will lose their determination after searching for online materials for 2-3 hours. There's a higher chance that these cheaters will find the materials they need over a search engine if this is posted on CC. Considering the number of hits CC has, google will have CC has one of the 1st sites.

By Virgo007 (Virgo007) on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 12:12 am: Edit

You know, it's a shame that many students forget the purpose of preparing for the AP Exam...to prepare for college. Instead they see it as some dreaded waste of $80 that they have to take. It's all for learning! What's the point of cheating anyway...it makes you look more stupid and it doesn't truly test your skills. Honesty really is the best policy and whoever (teachers, students, etc.) was responsible for making it possible to cheat deserve to be punished.

...But don't think that I like the ETS.

By Jinglebells666 (Jinglebells666) on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 02:01 am: Edit

All I'm saying is that discussing the exam in real life (not online) with people who just took it and not giving the questions to someone who hasn't taken the test is harmless.

Rules are meant to be broken.

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