Hundreds of Quince Orchard High School students who took the Advanced Placement psychology exam Monday may have their tests ruled invalid, after a student took a cell phone video from the testing center and posted it on Twitter.
After finding out from students, Principal Carole Working reported the incident to The College Board, which administers the exams, and the company is now reviewing the case.
It is against AP exam day policies for students to have cell phones, smart phones or tablets in a testing center, and if there is misconduct The College Board may “decline ... or cancel the scores of one or more students when it determines that such actions are required to protect the integrity of the exam,” according to The College Board’s Advanced Placement guide for students and parents.
The video did not show the test, but it did show students walking down an aisle to take the test and something in bubble wrap, which may have been the test, Working said.
The College Board and Educational Testing Service, the company that handles test administration and security, are reviewing the case, according to Tom Ewing, spokesman for Educational Testing Service.
“ETS is still reviewing the case, but it appears that the security of the AP test about to be taken was not compromised but rather there was a violation against the use of cell phones in any capacity within the testing center,” Ewing wrote in an email.
Working said she and the 274 students who took the test that afternoon are “very concerned” as they wait to hear back.
“We don’t know [how] The College Board will consider this,” she said Friday. “Potentially as nothing, and that would be a very good outcome.”
Colleges that acknowledge a passing score on the AP psychology exam count the score as college credit for their social sciences requirement, in place of an introductory psychology course.
The students that took the exam that day could potentially lose the chance for that credit, and be out the $89 fee for the exam.
If misconduct is discovered, students may be given an opportunity to retake the exam, the AP guide states.
Working said the student involved is upset.
She believes the issue is more common than expected, since many students are so attached to their phones.
Still, the rules are clear, she said.
Teachers tell students to leave their phone in their lockers or their backpacks, which are placed in a separate, secure area during testing. Before the exam, staff repeatedly remind students to put their phones away, she said.
“It was a choice on the part of the student to hide it,” she said.
To ensure that students know the rules, The College Board sends them to students beforehand in the guide, posts them online, and instructs school personnel to tell students, according to Kathleen Fineout Steinberg, executive director of communications for The College Board.
Students are required to sign their answer sheet to indicate they have read and agree to follow policies in the guide, Steinberg wrote in an email Thursday.
Working praised the students who reported the issue. She said she hopes for a “quick and fairly sensible decision.”
“We have done what we are supposed to do, in good faith,” she said “We hope for the best.”