4. AP 2020 Course-Specific Questions

4.1 Math and Computer Science

4.1.1 Why are you not providing Calculus AB subscores?

We have solid psychometric support that this year’s exams can provide an AP Exam score of 1 through 5 that represents a student’s performance and ability levels for the year. However, due to their shorter duration, this year’s AP Calculus BC Exams do not sufficiently assess the subsets of material required to calculate AB subscores in Calculus BC. However, this does not affect the calculation or validity of the AP Exam scores for the full exam in this course.

4.1.2 Since Calculus BC students can't get the AB subscore, can they take BC in May, then AB in June?

No. Students may only take one Calculus exam per academic year.

4.2 Music Theory

4.2.1 Does the 25 minutes for Question 1 include transcribing the prompt to the answer document?

Yes. This step is included in the total time students have to answer the question but does not affect students’ ability to earn a particular AP Exam score of 1 to 5. The AP Exam designs and psychometric processes assure that an exam score accurately reflects students’ level of skill and achievement regardless of what version of the exam they take.

4.2.2 Why are you not providing Aural and Non-Aural subscores?

We have solid psychometric support that this year’s exams can provide an AP Exam score of 1 through 5 that represents a student’s performance and ability levels for the year. However, due to their shorter duration, this year’s AP Music Theory Exams do not sufficiently assess the subsets of material required to calculate Aural and Non-Aural subscores. However, this does not affect the calculation or validity of the AP Exam scores for the full exam in this course.

4.3 Art and Design

4.3.1 Will students be judged only on the first 10 images uploaded?

Students will not be penalized if they include more, but only the ones in the required slots will be scored.

Placeholder images will need to be uploaded to the other slots for the submission to go through in the application. College Board is providing placeholder images on their website that students can upload to the remaining spaces for Sustained Investigation and Selected Works in the AP Art and Design digital submission web application.

Placeholder images and more information can be found here.

4.3.2 What do students upload for the remaining images that are no longer required?

Placeholder images will need to be uploaded to the other slots for the submission to go through in the application. College Board is providing placeholder images on their website that students can upload to the remaining spaces for Sustained Investigation and Selected Works in the AP Art and Design digital submission web application.

Placeholder images and more information can be found here.

4.3.3 What if my students can’t access their AP Art and Design art work because our building is closed?

Students won’t submit physical works this year. If the student has digital images of their work appropriate to the submission guidelines, they may submit those through the AP Art and Design digital submission web application.

The submission deadline for students’ digital artworks was extended to May 26 (11:59 p.m. ET), which could provide students with additional time to create new works or retrieve the artwork if the school reopens. The number of required works was also reduced, hopefully affording students time to create additional or replacement works as necessary to complete their portfolios.

Please review the 2020 Art and Design portfolio guidelines at cb.org/ap2020 for more information.

4.4 Capstone: Seminar and Research

4.4.1 For AP Seminar, can I return submitted work to students now that the exam weighting has changed?

Teachers can determine whether they will return AP Seminar work to their students and allow students more time to complete components, only if they have not provided individualized feedback to students. Instructions to return a file to a student can be found in the AP Digital Portfolio: Teacher User Guide for AP Capstone

As a reminder, teachers cannot provide direct feedback and must follow the responsibilities outlined in the Role of the Teacher section in the course and exam description. If individualized feedback has already been communicated to the student after their work was submitted as final, the teacher may not return the file because the student is at risk of submitting work which is not theirs. Teachers should still review student submissions for plagiarism.

Students must submit their written work as final in the AP Digital Portfolio by the extended deadline of May 26, at 11:59 PM ET, in order for their work to be scored. No further extensions will be granted.

4.4.2 For AP Research, how do I support my student who can no longer execute their research method due to limitations from the coronavirus?

AP Research teachers should advise their students that they can still earn qualifying scores of 3 or higher even if their research methods can’t be executed because of unforeseen conditions. A virtual lesson on addressing method challenges in the Academic Paper is available for teachers and students on the AP Live YouTube channel.

4.4.3 For AP Seminar and AP Research, what do I do with presentation scores that have been submitted in the AP Digital Portfolio now that they are no longer part of the exam?

Presentation scores will no longer be included in students’ final 2020 AP Seminar or AP Research score. If presentation scores were already submitted in the AP Digital Portfolio, you do not have to take further action, as the scores will not be sent to College Board for scoring.

4.4.4 For AP Seminar and AP Research, can students still do their presentations even if they are no longer part of the exam?

While presentations no longer count toward students’ final AP Seminar or AP Research score, we encourage students to present their work. Presentations may be completed and used for classroom grades.

4.4.5 For AP Seminar and AP Research, am I allowed to share presentation scores with my students now that presentations are no longer part of the exam?

We do not encourage teachers to share presentation scores with students or direct feedback, as this may indirectly impact students’ written work if it has not been submitted as final. Presentations may be completed and used for classroom grades.

4.4.6 For AP Seminar and AP Research, is online scoring training still required now that presentations are no longer part of the exam?

Presentation components no longer count toward students’ 2020 AP Seminar or AP Research score. Online scoring training for presentation components are now optional. We recommend teachers still complete the training modules for professional development.

4.4.7 For AP Seminar and AP Research, what if a student no longer wants to submit the required assessment components?

The AP Registration and Ordering system is now closed, which means schools can no longer indicate a student’s exam is canceled in the system. This school year, AP Seminar and AP Research students who no longer wish for their work to be scored must not submit any work as final in the AP Digital Portfolio. Teachers must return any work already submitted as final in these situations. Instructions for returning work to students can be found on page 13 in the AP Digital Portfolio – Teacher User Guide for AP Capstone. To ensure schools do not incur an AP Seminar or AP Research Exam fee for students who no longer want an AP score, all files that have been submitted as final must be returned to students no later than May 26, 11:59 p.m. ET.

4.5 World Languages and Cultures

4.5.1 Where can I learn more about taking AP world language and culture exams?

Visit Taking AP World Language and Culture Exams.

4.5.2 Should students turn off AutoCorrect for the AP Latin Exam?

Yes, we recommend that students taking the AP Latin Exam turn off AutoCorrect in Word or its equivalent in other programs.

4.5.3 What should students do if lines wrap in AP Spanish Literature questions?

It’s possible that, on a smartphone, a line of text (for example, in a poem) may wrap, with hard returns after each line. The student may want to turn the phone horizontal and view the text in landscape mode to avoid unnatural line breaks.

4.6 Computer Science Principles

4.6.1 Is the AP CSP Exam canceled?

The AP CSP Exam is not canceled.  The exam always consisted of three parts: Explore Task, Create Task, and End of Course exam.  The End of Course exam has been canceled, and students’ scores will be based on the Create and Explore Tasks.  The portfolio due date is extended for all students to May 26 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

After surveying students, we know they remain eager to take AP Exams. We reached out to 18,000 AP students and they overwhelmingly indicated they want to complete this important step. For all AP courses, there will be no multiple-choice questions. Most other courses will receive a 45-minute online free-response exam.

4.6.2 My school has transitioned to all online. Can I assign my students to complete performance tasks at home?

Yes, you can assign the performance tasks to be completed at home. This is similar to how students who take the course online would manage the completion of performance tasks. Some things to consider:

  • Have you covered the material necessary to complete the performance tasks?  Are there additional assignments/videos/readings you want to assign before having them start their performance tasks?  Have they reviewed the performance task directions and guidelines and understand them?  We’ve compiled a list of materials that can support your students at home both from endorsed providers and the larger computer science community. Free video lessons are now available on the AP YouTube channel to assist in preparing students to complete their performance tasks.
  • If students return to school, how will you support students who had challenges accessing the technology necessary to complete their performance task? This should be similar to how you would support students who were absent during your in-class administration of the performance task.

4.6.3 How can I monitor students working from home on performance tasks?

Refer to page 79 of the course and exam description. Paragraph two under the Task Overview section discusses students who are taking the course online or as a homeschooled student. In these cases, students are held responsible for attesting to the originality of their work. Additionally, see the FAQ about students being able to work on their performance tasks outside of class here.

4.6.4 My students do not have access to technology. What can we do?

Students can test on a laptop or desktop. Some schools have indicated that they are willing to loan laptops for students who do not have home computers. We recognize that the digital divide could prevent some low-income and/or rural students from participating.  We worked with partners to ensure these students have the tools and connectivity they need to review AP content online and take the exam.

4.6.5 Why doesn’t AP CSP have live review sessions?

Students now have access to free AP review lessons, delivered by AP teachers from across the country. These optional, mobile-friendly classes are designed to be used alongside work that may be given by schools. For AP CSP, these lessons will focus on important content students will need to complete the Explore and Create Performance Tasks.

4.6.6 Now that their grade is based solely on their performance task, can I return my student’s performance tasks to improve?

In light of AP CSP and AP Seminar Exam changes for the 2019-20 school year, teachers may only return tasks submitted as final if they have NOT provided individual feedback or grades on the tasks.

If you have returned a file to a student, make sure to personally follow up with them to have them first upload a new/correct version of the document and then submit as final again.

4.6.7 Do I still have to give students the required number of hours for the Create and Explore performance tasks?

As long as students are not in school, we will waive the required in class hours for completing the Create and Explore performance tasks. The required number of in-class hours is meant to ensure that students have access to the necessary technology to complete their performance tasks. Students can work on the tasks outside of a classroom for as many hours as they deem necessary to complete their performance tasks and do their best work.

If students return to school, teachers should ensure students have access to technology to complete the tasks.

4.6.8 What do I do if my student(s) decides they no longer want to submit their performance tasks for scoring?

Some students may decide to no longer submit their performance tasks to the College Board for scoring. The College Board AP ordering system is now closed, which means your school can no longer indicate the exam is canceled in the system. If a student approaches you with this request, follow the steps in the AP Digital Portfolio to return their work by no later than May 26, 11:59 PM EDT. This will ensure that the student is not charged for the AP Exam. These steps are also outlined on the digital portfolio teacher guide, pages 9–10.

  • Step 1: To return a file to a student, click on the submission in the Progress View. 
  • Step 2: Click on the Return File to Student button.
  • Step 3: Select “Other” for the reason you are returning the file to the student. Type in “Student is withdrawing from the exam” and click the Return File button.

4.7 Computer Science A

4.7.1 What skills are being assessed with the open-ended questions?

While we have had to make adjustments to the way that we are assessing students on this year’s AP CSA exam, the skills and content these questions are assessing are part of the course curriculum and typically assessed in the multiple choice part of the exam. The circumstances surrounding an at-home assessment provide an opportunity for students to explain how the provided classes work and how they could be modified.

The open-ended questions assess the following course skills:

  • 1.C Determine code that would be used to interact with completed program code. Since the students are provided with classes already, this is not program design.
  • 5.A Describe the behavior of a given segment of program code.
  • 5.C Explain how the result of program code changes, given a change to the initial code. We are proposing a change to the initial code and then students explain how the resulting program code changes that will be needed.

For skill 1.C, students are asked to determine the variables, methods and constructors, including visibility (public / private) and type, that would need to be included to work with existing program code. Additionally, using Skill 5.A and 5.C, students are asked to further explain these changes.

4.7.2 How will the open-ended questions be scored?

Free-response questions are still primarily focusing on the ability of students to write code with the addition of an open-ended question where students will need to describe potential changes to existing code. For the open-ended, FRQs, students will be scored on their ability to identify and describe modifications to the code.

Students should be able to answer these questions directly in a paragraph or a bulleted list with 2 – 4 sentences total that address the following:

  • Any new variables that would need to be added to the classes.
  • Any new or modified constructors that would be needed.
  • Any new or modified methods that would be needed.

Students will not be scored on:

  • Incorrect grammar or punctuation
  • Command of the English language
  • Additional code modifications not specifically requested in question, including the equals and toString methods

4.7.3 Why are we including open-ended questions this year?

Testing at home presents unique challenges and concerns.  In order to help ensure the security and validity of AP Exams in all subjects this year, our 2020 FRQs require students to apply the skills and knowledge they've acquired during the year, andbecause 2020 AP Exams are open book and open noteavoid answers that can be easily looked up or acquired by use of other tools like IDEs. Further, we've added components in the Computer Science A exam (as in several other subjects) to provide as much opportunity as possible for students to demonstrate their knowledge on the exam.

In AP CSA, this meant including Unit 5 in the questions as we have assured colleges and universities that we are covering Units 1-7 on the exam this year, despite not having a multiple-choice section or a class design free-response question. In addition, these questions allow us to assess skills that are typically not assessed on free-response questions but that are still part of the curriculum and valued by higher education institutions.

4.7.4 Why can’t students write code for the open-ended questions?

Students are asked not to write code so that they do not rewrite entire classes or methods. Rewriting code would cause students to do more work than necessary and likely run out of time when answering these questions. Students are still allowed to include code to supplement their answers. For example, “I need a new instance variable, which will be a new private String object in the Sample class representing the item that appears the greatest number of times in the list.” Another way to word this would be “I need to add private String greatest to the Sample class, which is the item that appears the greatest number of times in the list”.

Since students aren’t always provided with the original constructor or methods, it will be quicker, easier and less likely to introduce a side effect to other parts of the code if students just describe the addition or modification that would be made without rewriting the entire constructor or methods. In addition, students don’t have to worry about the way other parts of the class would interact with the new or modified components but can instead just focus on the proposed modifications and additions.