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"Outdated browsers" prevented thousands from submitting AP exams

CBS News logo CBS News 5/17/2020 Li Cohen
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With the havoc caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Advanced Placement (AP) students have had to take their exams at home. But due to a nationwide technical glitch, many students' tests are not being counted, putting their college credit and final grades at risk.

AP courses are college-level classes for high school students. At the end of the academic year, students take a cumulative exam, and those who score high enough can potentially earn college credit for the class. College Board offers AP courses in English, social sciences, math, computer science, arts, history, and sciences.   

Students took to Twitter to share photos and videos of what happened wen they tried to submit their recent exams. 

One student, sounding exasperated and emotional, showed the "submit" button on her physics test simply not working. An on-screen timer shows her struggling to upload an image of her handwritten answers with just about a minute and a half to spare before the test automatically ended. 

In other videos, you can hear that same student crying as she has to sign up to retake the exam. More than a dozen students commented on her post, saying the same thing happened to them. 

A student who took the English literature and composition test also posted a video of the submit button not working. The student had written a lengthy response to a question and checked to make sure he met all of the submission requirements. The video shows that when time ran out, he was directed to a page that read "we did not receive your response" and provided a link for him to make up the test.

Many students noted they have taken several AP courses, and thus have several more exams to take over the next few weeks. Because of the glitches they have already experienced, they claimed they will have to retake all of those exams. 

The technical issues started on May 11, the very first day of AP testing. College board said that approximately 2% of the 50,000 students — or roughly 1,000 students — who took that day's AP Physics C: Mechanics exam experienced difficulties when they tried to submit their answers. The organization tweeted "we anticipated that a small percentage of students would encounter technical difficulties," which is why they have a makeup window scheduled in June. 

Two days later, College Board tweeted "more than 99% of students successfully submitted" their exams, and that "outdated browsers were a primary cause" for those who had issues.

College Board has published a troubleshooting guide to help students through their exams. They did not immediately return CBS News' request for comment.  

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