On Saturday October 21, AP Chemistry teacher Supriya Moore posted on Schoolloop that the free response question (FRQ) portion of the October 19 and 20 test on molecular and atomic theory would have to be retaken on October 26. Since some of the questions on the test had the exact same questions from an AP chemistry exam from Bellville HS from the southern part of Texas, Moore decided that the test would be invalid.
Students use online resources, like old AP chemistry tests, to prepare for tests, and students who had used the test Moore had taken questions from to study, had an unfair advantage, according to Moore. One of these students was a junior, who will be referred to as Esma in order to maintain her anonymity. Students, including Esma, felt that having to retake the FRQ was unfair.
“We didn’t know the answers, but we knew the questions, and it’s not fair that she’s making us retake the test because it was online,” Esma said.
Moore found out about the incident through a student who brought it to the attention of another staff member, who then told Moore.
“My initial [thought]was that the test would obviously be invalid,” Moore said. “I did not know at that point how many students [knew the questions], but it doesn’t matter. Even if one student had access to questions from a test, then it becomes an invalid instrument to measure learning.”
Moore says that she used it as a basis for the test while also copying some problems word for word.
Junior Jeffrey Tian, who has Moore sixth period, used old AP chemistry tests in order to study for the exam and had used the same old AP test that Moore used.
“I thought it was super unfair […] we had an FRQ test and the only way we could study was if we looked at old AP tests and shared them with each other to study, but we had no idea that the actual test would be one of the practice tests,” Tian said.
Moore encourages the students to use online resources like old AP exams online in order to prepare for the test, and does not blame the students for this incident.
“Student are encouraged to go online, encouraged to look at practice tests, so I don’t blame them for having done that,” Moore said. “It’s not their mistake to go online and find the questions, but I think once you recognize the practice test that you took last night were the same questions that are coming on the test the next day, and you also know that students have had access to it, then it [gives students the obligation]to report it to the teacher.”
According to Moore, teachers often use other resources in order to create their tests, including practice tests, and also collaborate with colleagues, though this breach did not impact the other AP Chemistry sections. However, Moore feels this experience has taught her that this may not always be the best idea.
“The takeaway is not to use practice tests online, for me,” Moore said. “Probably not a good a idea [for me]to go back and look at all the FRQs and use those questions.”