Monday, November 5, 2012

Changes in AP Curriculum

The College Board is revamping all their Advanced Placement curricula.  Those who teach the courses are well aware of this, but the general public likely knows little of this.  As we see many poor examples of standardized tests and curricula, I think the changes the College Board is making ought to be quite welcome.  They are moving away from vast, expansive curricula that required incredible speed, little depth, and far too much memorization of facts without context.  But now we will begin to see more analysis and critical thinking.  And it is not only the College Board from which we will see these changes.  The Common Care State Standards, adopted by almost all 50 states, will be promoting the same sort of changes.  While educators may welcome this shift, many top students will see a difficult adjustment best summed up at the end of an article from US News and World Report ( ).

“Many teachers, like Hollinger, look forward to digging deeper, though she suspects that many of today's "best" students who do well on recall and standardized tests might have some trouble adjusting. This new style of learning, says Philip Ballinger, director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Washington in Seattle, will definitely be better college prep.”

Finally, I think it worth pointing out that, at least in the case of the College Board, this is what can happen when educators are involved in the process.

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