Recording Student Responses Using Handheld Digital Recorders

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The AP Music Theory Exam and AP French, German, Italian, and Spanish Language and Culture Exams allow the use of handheld digital recorders, also known as digital audio recorders or digital voice recorders. These devices record musical performances and speech as digital files which can be transferred from the device via a USB cable, removable storage media (e.g., an SD card), or WiFi connection.

Many brands and models of handheld digital recorders are suitable for students' audio responses. AP requires that the device meet all five criteria to be used for the final exam.

Digital Recorder Requirements

Feature Requirement
1. Ownership The device MUST be school or district owned or controlled; student-owned devices are prohibited.
2. Digital Recording Format The device MUST be capable of saving the recorded audio as an MP3 formatted digital file. No other audio file format is acceptable (e.g. WAV, WMA or AAC).
3. File Transfer The device MUST include a means to move or copy digital files from the device to an external computer or the internet. Most devices do so via a USB cable, WiFi or removable media (SD card)—either is acceptable.

What Must Be Disabled

4. If a device includes features for taking pictures or video such as a built in camera or webcam, the camera or webcam MUST be disabled.

5. If a device includes features for wireless communication over a network—including cellular, Bluetooth or WiFi—the communication capability MUST be disabled.

Administration Options

If necessary, to accommodate a large number of exam takers, the device may be reused to record more than one student's response. When reusing devices, each student's responses must be saved as a separate, single MP3 file.

Technical Assistance

Technical assistance is available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday to answer questions related to handheld digital recorders. Email AP-MP3Recordertech@ets.org or call 609-406-5677 for assistance during these hours.