Covid eliminates advanced level exams in China

Thousands of high school students in China learned on Friday that covid-19 restrictions would prevent them from taking the advanced-level exams many have been preparing for to improve their chances of going to college in the United States or in Europe.

Many students are unable to take the in-person pen and paper tests given once a year in May due to the government’s “zero-covid” lockdown measures meant to curb the spread of the virus. The College Board, which administers the tests, previously offered an online option in response to pandemic school closures, but said it was intended as a temporary solution.

“We regret the impact this decision may have on students who have worked hard all year to prepare for this opportunity,” the College Board said in a written statement.

The decision not to offer an online option has frustrated students who fear missing test scores for college-level AP courses will weaken their college candidacies. Students also risk losing the college credits that reward high test scores, meaning they will have to enroll and pay for classes they might otherwise have skipped.

Some other admission tests are still offered digitally in China, including the ACT. Administrators said students’ ability to take this test has not been affected by the closures. College Board did not respond to questions about whether the SAT, which it administers several times a year, will be affected.

Parents accused the College Board of being indifferent to the students involved. Students around the world were able to test via computer in 2020 and 2021, but with universal start times. In China, that meant AP testing sessions in the middle of the night.

“As a parent, it’s hard to watch your child work so hard for a full year and then not be allowed to take the exam,” said Angelique Schultz, who has two students at Shanghai American School.

College Board said it would not be able to offer makeup sessions beyond May. He said he would urge university admissions officers to be flexible.

“The lack of certainty about when large gatherings will be allowed, when testing locations and staff will be available, when schools can reopen for in-person learning, and when exam materials can be delivered without disruption to service and wait times make it impossible to schedule a catch-up exam administration,” he said.

Junghyok Park, 16, said he had been preparing all year for his AP US history exam, though it looked increasingly unlikely that he and his classmates, many of whom are not not allowed to leave their homes, would take the exams.

“Many studied half-heartedly in the prolonged wait for a definitive answer,” he said.

Although the lack of AP scores does not directly prevent students from applying to American colleges and universities, many schools in Europe and Asia require admissions scores, said Marcel Gauthier, director of the Shanghai American School. . Some students flew to other countries to take the exams.

His students, he said, “have been working all year, heading towards a single exam…and that’s a culminating event they won’t have.”

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