Nick Bryner, a highschool senior in Los Angeles, spent hours finishing his AP English Literature and Composition check final week. However when he snapped a photograph of a written reply together with his iPhone and tried to add it to the testing portal, it stopped responding.

The web site bought caught on the loading display till Bryner’s time ran out. Bryner failed the check. He’s retaking it in just a few weeks.

Bryner is among the many many highschool college students across the nation who accomplished Superior Placement assessments on-line final week however have been unable to submit them on the finish. The wrongdoer: picture codecs.

A screenshot of the AP testing portal informing a student that they weren’t able to submit their responses.

Screenshot: School Board

For the uninitiated: AP exams require longform solutions. College students can both sort their response or add a photograph of handwritten work. College students who select the latter choice can accomplish that as a JPG, JPEG, or PNG format in line with the College Board’s coronavirus FAQ.

However the testing portal doesn’t assist the default format on iOS units and a few newer Android telephones, HEIC recordsdata. HEIC recordsdata are smaller than JPEGs and different codecs, thus permitting you to retailer much more pictures on an iPhone. Mainly, solely Apple (and, extra not too long ago, Samsung) use the HEIC format — most different web sites and platforms don’t assist it. Even common Silicon Valley-based companies, akin to Slack, don’t deal with HEICs the identical manner as commonplace JPEGs.

Bryner says lots of his classmates additionally tried to submit iPhone pictures and skilled the identical drawback. The problem was so widespread that his college’s AP program forwarded an electronic mail from the School Board to college students on Sunday together with tidbits of recommendation to stop submission errors.

An email to high school students from the College Board with advice for submitting exam responses.

“What’s devastating is that hundreds of scholars now have a further three weeks of traumatic finding out for retakes,” Bryner stated.

In an announcement emailed to The Verge, the School Board stated that “the overwhelming majority of scholars efficiently accomplished their exams” within the first few days of on-line testing, “with lower than 1 p.c unable to submit their responses.” The corporate additionally famous that “We share the deep disappointment of scholars who have been unable to submit responses.”

The e-mail Bryner acquired doesn’t point out the HEIC format, although it does hyperlink to the School Board’s website, which instructs college students with iPhones to alter their digital camera settings in order that pictures save as JPEGs reasonably than HEICs. The corporate additionally linked to that info in a tweet early final week.

The recommendation, nevertheless, was too late for a lot of college students. One senior, who requested to stay nameless to keep away from repercussions from college, stated that the School Board’s tweet went out only a few minutes earlier than his Physics C check started. “Nobody taking the AP Physics check would have been capable of see it as a result of we have been already logged into the check,” he stated.

Senior Dave Spencer took a demo check earlier than his Calculus AB examination to verify he understood the method for importing pictures. He Airdropped an iPhone picture of his responses to his Mac and tried to transform it by renaming the HEIC file to PNG. Altering a file’s extension doesn’t assure that it is going to be transformed, however Spencer was nonetheless capable of submit the demo check with no drawback.

Spencer used the identical course of on the actual examination and thought it went by, however he acquired an electronic mail the subsequent day saying the recordsdata have been corrupted and that he wanted to retake the check. The School Board’s tweet went out only a few hours earlier than Spencer’s scheduled examination; he doesn’t have a Twitter account and didn’t see it.

“That is completely unacceptable, as some youngsters could not have Twitter like me,” Spencer stated in a textual content message. “That nuance was not addressed wherever within the demo.”

Everly Kai, a senior in British Columbia, had the identical drawback with Pc Science A final week — she tried to rename the file to JPEG and acquired the identical electronic mail just a few hours after submitting her check.

“It was truthfully a bit devastating,” Kai stated in a textual content. “I studied virtually everything of the earlier week and really feel I did fairly nicely, solely to appreciate it was for nothing and I’d should undergo the whole traumatic course of once more.”

Bryner thinks the clarification isn’t sufficient, even for college kids who’re taking the check later. “Most college students are most likely going to proceed to run into this,” he stated. Bryner doesn’t suppose the corporate ought to have anticipated him and his classmates to leap by so many hoops. “To flip the swap from HEIC to JPEG is buried in settings, and one thing that nobody is considering going into the check,” he stated.

Even college students who knew concerning the HEIC drawback have had bother determining the best way to repair it, particularly within the high-pressure testing surroundings. Sean S., a junior from Chicago who took Calculus AB, used OneDrive to port a photograph to his Home windows desktop from his iPhone, then tried to transform the file with Home windows Photograph. As a result of photograph’s measurement, the conversion took over 5 minutes. Then, earlier than the JPEG had absolutely submitted, his time ran out. (Sean requested to be recognized solely by his first identify and final preliminary as a result of his dad and mom didn’t need his identify within the information.)

Fortunately, it seems like college students can have extra recourse sooner or later. The School Board is now permitting test-takers who’ve points submitting their assessments to electronic mail them as a substitute — iPhones convert HEICs to JPEGs robotically once they’re connected to emails within the Mail app. For those who fail to submit, you’ll instantly obtain a notification and a novel electronic mail tackle to make use of. This selection is just obtainable for future exams, nevertheless — it received’t assist Bryner and others who failed their assessments final week.

Tens of hundreds of scholars are demanding that the School Board do extra. Following technical points together with her personal check final week, Los Angeles senior Eliana Sisman created a petition calling on the corporate to permit her and fellow college students to resubmit their earlier work. The petition has collected over 23,000 signatures.

“I thank the School Board for organising a re-submission channel for college kids taking APs this 12 months,” Sisman stated in an announcement to The Verge. “I urge them to be honest to college students who’ve already taken the APs and might’t submit them. Many college students will probably be within the navy or working at summer season jobs by June 1st and received’t be capable to take the make-up check.”

She added, “If the faculty board does this, they may make it clear to everybody that they’re a accountable and caring neighborhood establishment.”

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