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Advanced Placement Teachers Talk About What It Means To Take These Rigorous Courses

by Ethan Campe

Walkersville High School has many AP courses for students to take, An advanced placement course earns the participating student college credit, given they meet the requirements taking the final at the end of the course. However teaching methods and finals vary given the course taken.

AP statistics teacher Mark Cronk places his ideology in “Teaching for the test not to the test”. He also added “[It is a] Dereliction of duty if you’re not adequately preparing your students for AP exams. Giving them honest reliable feedback on their progress”. AP statistics is a semester long course followed by an exam.

AP chemistry teacher Stacy Bureau stated “[The] entire curriculum has to be finished by April, [this] being a frontloaded course harder topics come near the semester change”. Then adding “Fun chemistry comes after with independent projects”. AP chemistry is a two semester long course with a rigorous exam.

In AP computer science, college credit is granted by a student’s portfolio and a multiple choice test. The portfolio includes their own written program under a language of their choosing and a research paper. Both the student’s portfolio and multiple choice final are assigned near the end of the course.

AP literature teacher Tom Kollai put it “Prioritize the love and teaching of the curriculum other than peer teaching the test.” and that he “Could potentially see differences amongst subjects”. The college credit from AP lit is earned from passing the final test.

AP government teacher Paul Hoffman described it as “There’s no hiding it we prioritize passing the test”. The teaching shift after the test “[Goes] off of students interests afterwards” “[Being] something little different every year,” ranging to anything from research projects to classroom debates.

AP studio primarily focuses on creating multiple pieces over the course. “Naturally dragging over two semesters.” Susan Maseth describing the rigor of AP studio, which is  different from other AP courses, AP studio does not have a final exam. At the end of the course a student’s portfolio of works is submitted to a college board awaiting their evaluation. Each portfolio given a score of zero to six. As to what score is considered passing can change amongst the students applying colleges.
The label of advance placement can lead to a generalization of how all AP courses are. Where factually most of them are vastly different depending on the subject of teaching.