AP Spanish test ran long nationwide

I would like to respond to Marsha Labunsky’s article about
the AP Spanish Language exam (“Technical glitches delay AP Spanish Language
exam”). 

The article states that the AP Spanish Language exam is
supposed to take a little over three hours, implying that the technical
problems alone are to blame for the fact that some students didn’t finish the
exam until .  However, I would like to point out that this
exam (with its new format) couldn’t possibly be administered in a little over
three hours, even under ideal conditions. 
I participate in an electronic discussion group of AP teachers, and many
teachers reported information about how the test administration went in their
schools.  The shortest test time that anyone reported was four hours, forty-five minutes.  That was the time reported in schools where
there weren’t five groups sharing a language lab, and where nothing went wrong.

In some cases, students spent eight hours taking the exam;
this happened in schools where a number of students were sharing tape recorders
in order to record their speaking.  Some
of those students couldn’t take the AP Statistics exam that day because of the
length of the Spanish exam. 

I do not mean to imply that Marsha Labunsky doesn’t have a
good point in questioning the length of the exam.  Many of us in my listserv agreed that we
didn’t have to take a five-hour exam to get our Master’s Degree!  It would be interesting to see how the
College Board would answer the question of why the exam has to be so very long
and arduous.

Figuring out the logistics of giving this exam is a
Herculean task; Mr. Church, Mr. Gragg and Mr. Santiago are to be commended for
their hard work in making it all happen. 
I look forward to next year when, hopefully, the day will be a bit
shorter for the students taking the test.

Sincerely,

Margot Riemer