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AP Chemistry exam integrity goes into negative territory for 2021

December 24, 2020
Let’s not bury the lead here.

If you thought the AP Chemistry exam in 2020 was a zero integrity farce (spoiler alert, it was), it’s going to be much, MUCH worse in 2021. So what’s going on? Having sanctioned cheating by allowing kids to take the 2020 ‘exam’ at home, with essentially no safeguards against cheating, and absolutely zero way of preventing any number of people being in the room with the student, the same thing will once again happen in 2021.

If you thought the AP Chemistry exam in 2020 was a zero integrity farce (spoiler alert, it was), it’s going to be much, MUCH worse in 2021.

That’s bad enough, but as we saw in 2020, integrity is not something that the College Board is remotely concerned about, rather their bottom line is their motivation. So how will things be worse in 2021? Well not only is the sanctioned cheating being extended into the ‘exam’ season for 2021, but additionally it will now be coupled with ‘normal’, in-person exams in schools as well! In a nutshell, in 2021, some students will be allowed to cheat, and some will not.

In a nutshell, in 2021, some students will be allowed to cheat, and some will not.

Think about that for a moment. Only the College Board could actually reduce the integrity of an ‘exam’ in 2020 that had zero integrity in 2020. At least in 2020 EVERYBODY could cheat, at will, with no restrictions. In 2021, access to rampant cheating will only be available to some students. It’s mind-boggling, and I continue to be amazed at how many so-called educators are OK with this. I find it disgusting.


  1. Merrell D. Newman

    It will be interesting to see the score breakdowns of at home tests vs ones administered in schools. By allowing at home testing it totally makes the scores useless in my opinion for 2020 as well as future 2021 tests.


      We already know that Packer and the CB will lie without hesitation about “statistics.” (I got to confront him about this LIVE. He was surprisingly polite..) I predict RIGHT NOW that there will be no statistical difference in scores between those who take the exam live, and those who take it on their home computers. And unlike last year, where the only alternative was to scrap the exam, there is no good reason to allow home tests this year. By June, it is likely that the overwhelming majority of HS students and their teachers will have been vaccinated. And even schools not offering live instruction COULD open for testing.

      • Adrian

        Hi Paul – The bottom line here is that there is ZERO integrity … and they DON’T CARE! I’m disgusted.

      • jim

        Where do you get your statistics about vaccinations? They are incorrect, especially for students. That being said, the test should be in person students can come in for 3 hours wear a mask, and be safe.

        • Adrian

          Paul’s was a prediction made back in December of 2020, not a statement of fact!

    • Adrian

      As Paul says, the College Board will produce statistics that proclaim, “GREAT success”. Recognize that in any way??

  2. Lynn

    I am wondering if you have any advice on how to get someone at AP to review an AP Chemistry class that is not having labs this school year (no labs in any format—even though class is meeting in person each day all year since August). We have sent emails and called repeatedly, but it is just a customer service loop of international call centers. The school administration is unwilling to act. (This teacher is new this year.) We have been trying since December….and getting no where. The teacher submitted AP Chem sample Syllabus 1 for the Course Audit—however, it is in no way reflective of the class. The students do not even have the textbooks listed on the syllabus. The assistant superintendent told us that the syllabus does not actually have to reflect classroom content—that AP only uses it for “course awareness.”

    I would like to add that the students did not have a book of any kind (not digital or traditional) until we pushed in December—and they finally produced a 3rd edition by Tro (Molecular). We asked the school if that was the book that was on the AP Course Audit Syllabus—they originally told us it was—we asked for a copy of the AP Course Audit Syllabus and after weeks of push-back from the school we finally received it—which is how we found out the teacher used the Sample Syllabus for course approval. Please offer us advice on how to have AP step in.

    • Adrian

      Let me start by NOT addressing your question, but rather by saying something that IMO is really, really important! Whilst it is true that a course without a textbook, and without labs is one that is not what the CB intends, a child in such a class can quite EASILY have a great class, a great experience, learn a TON of chemistry and pass the AP chemistry exam with the very, very highest grades. Neither a textbook nor a lab experience are necessary for AP exam success.

      To give context, the AP audit was, is, and always will, be a toothless Dog & Pony show. There are no AP audit police, and even if there were it would be really difficult to prove a case against a teacher or school. On the other hand, the CB would not need to ‘prove’ anything, they could simply withdraw the right to use AP on the school’s transcript for that course. However, IMO any meaningless letters that appear on a school transcript are ALWAYS, ALWAYS superseded by an AP exam score anyway. If the kid scores a 5 on the AP chemistry exam, I couldn’t care less about their meaningless, concocted school transcript!

      To answer your question directly, and if it really matters to you that a course is not following the pointless audit, then I suggest trying to contact Jamie Benigna at the College Board, he’s the AP Chemistry ‘Czar’. Maybe he can help. FWIW I would be far more concerned about the experience that the kid was having in terms of being prepared for the AP exam, and as stated previously, please know that does most definitely NOT depend upon either the availability of a textbook, or a lab experience.


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