According to Forbes, high school students who took the new online Advanced Placement (AP) exam and could not submit their answers filed a class-action lawsuit against the College Board for breach of contract, gross negligence, misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
"The lawsuit demands the College Board pay more than $500 million in monetary relief and accept the students’ answers instead of requiring them to re-take the test in June." Of the test-takers, only one percent were unable to turn-in their completed exam but plaintiff attorneys claim that some students may have ditched the test from the start for various reasons including technical difficulties and that the failure rate of the test was much higher. Thus, the test affected far more than calculated by the test developer.
Peter Schwartz, College Board Chief Risk Officer and General Counsel, said in a statement: “This lawsuit is a PR stunt masquerading as a legal complaint being manufactured by an opportunistic organization that prioritizes media coverage for itself. It is wrong factually and baseless legally; the College Board will vigorously and confidently defend against it, and expect to prevail."
Headquartered in New York, the College Board develops and administers standardized tests and college-level curricula to high school students. One of the tests it provides is the AP exam, which measures how well a student has mastered the content and skills of a specific AP course. AP exams cover a variety of subjects including art, English, history, math, computer science, and world languages. American colleges and universities may grant placement and course credit to students who obtain high scores on the examinations.
Due to the usual high demand for the test in May but with the recent coronavirus pandemic, the College Board decided to offer a new test that students could take online and at home. It adapted the AP exams from two to three hours to a 45-minute version. The Washington Post reported that FairTest, a claimant in the lawsuit and a non-profit organization against the use of flawed standardized tests, said the students shouldn't be allowed to take the AP exam they demanded because “The students did not take the AP exams they (or their schools) had paid for. Instead they were administered quickly cobbled together, skeletal versions of the standardized tests...delivered on a platform that was simply not ready for prime time.” The College Board blamed the inability to submit tests on technical glitches, such as an outdated browser. As a consolation, it offered a retest in June and will allow students the option to submit their answers via email. If social distancing regulations continue through the fall and venues will not permit proctor-administered testing, the College Board said it plans to offer an online, at-home SAT.