U.S. Students Fail AP Tests as College Testing Portal Lacks Support for iPhone Photos

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COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live our lives. Some of the workforces have shifted to work remotely while other businesses like restaurants are leaning on technology to facilitate takeaway. Even Educational institutions have moved to online arrangements and students are allowed to take the test online. Apparently, the college board websites do not support iPhone’s HEIC format and have caused a big problem for the students.

A high school senior in LA, Nick Bryner was in shock after a photo of his written answer taken by the iPhone crashed the testing portal. The student had reportedly spent hours completing his test but the test portal stopped responding after he uploaded a photo taken on iPhone. The worst part is that the website got stuck on the loading screen and Bryner ran out of time. The result? Bryner failed the test and is expected to retake the same in the next weeks.

Apparently Bryner is not the only one who faced this issue. Many high school students across the U.S. had a harrowing experience while uploading their test answers using an iPhone. Students are required to write long-form answers for AP exams. They can either type the answers or take a photo of the handwritten answer. The College Board only accepts JPG, JPEG, and PNG formats.

HEIC is the default format for images on newer Android phones and iPhones. Typically, HEIC files are smaller than JPEG without compromising on the quality. Apparently the issue was very common and forced the school’s AP program to send an email to students that asked them to convert HEIC files before submitting.

Due to the technical shortcomings, students in the number of thousands will not have to take the restest. This also means they have to work for another three weeks. The college board advised students to change file format on iOS/iPadOS by going to Settings>Camera>Formats> Select Most Compatible. You can also follow this guide to easily convert HEIC photos to JPEG on iPhone, Mac, or Windows.

Our Take

It goes without saying that educational institutions and even tech companies are struggling to adapt to the current situation. Perhaps this is one more reason why educational institutes should make sure that the testing portal is duly tested before asking students to take tests.

[via The Verge]