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Saturday, January 30, 2010

CollegeBoard Changes AP Curriculum

Here's an interesting piece of information. The CollegeBoard is getting ready to change it's AP Curriculum. They'll be taking a lot of the focus away from straight-forward memorization and putting it on to concepts and big ideas. My guess is that they're trying to take away the "teaching to the test" approach that plagues many of the schools across the country. I posted the information below for you pleasure:

This is an exciting time to be involved in the AP® Program. The developments under way in AP world languages, history and science directly support AP teachers' ongoing efforts to develop and deliver great courses that align with the most effective teaching and learning at colleges and universities.

The changes detailed on this site for AP French Language and Culture, AP German Language and Culture, and AP World History will go into effect in the 2011–12 school year, with the corresponding AP Exams administered in May 2012. For more information on each individual exam click on the links above.


The revised learning objectives for AP® French and German Language and Culture exams are based on the three modes of communication — Interpersonal, Interpretive and Presentational — defined in the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century. The course revisions also acknowledge the connectedness of comprehension and comprehensibility, vocabulary usage, language control, communication strategies and cultural awareness in developing language proficiency. While the three modes of communication frame the learning objectives, the revised curriculum is structured around six broad themes — Global Challenges, Science and Technology, Contemporary Life, Personal and Public Identities, Families and Communities, and Beauty and Aesthetics — that promote an integration of language and culture. For each theme, the curriculum also identifies several recommended contexts and essential questions, providing teachers significant flexibility to select resources and design instruction.


Revisions to AP® World History focus on helping teachers manage the scope of the course, while at the same time providing students with the opportunity for deep learning. Teachers will have more freedom in designing instruction, and students will be prepared to analyze their subject and its implications for the world around them. Because world history's scope requires students to think on many different geographic and temporal levels, it is imperative that a college-level course prepare students to explore broad trends and global processes that may have developed over centuries or even millennia in various regions of the world. The course content, which has not been substantially revised, is now structured around the investigation of five course themes and 19 key concepts in six chronological periods, from approximately 8000 B.C.E. to the present. The framework defines a set of shared historical thinking skills that will apply to all AP history courses and that will help teachers make more informed choices about appropriate ways of linking content and thinking skills.


Given the speed with which scientific discoveries and research continuously expand scientific knowledge, many educators are faced with the challenge of balancing breadth of content coverage with depth of understanding. The upcoming changes to AP science support AP teachers in their efforts to foster students’ deep understanding of science by reducing the emphasis on broad content coverage and emphasizing the practice of scientific inquiry and reasoning.

The developments underway in AP science courses are exciting because they support what many great science teachers are already doing: cultivating students' understanding of key concepts and development of intellectual skills by focusing on key concepts using a limited number of appropriate content examples, rather than by marching through an exhaustive "checklist" of required content. Teachers will have the opportunity and responsibility to select and use content in ways that help students understand the underlying concepts, as well as the skills, essential to the practice of science.

The revised courses will provide clear signposts about the depth of understanding and boundaries of the concepts and content that will be assessed on the AP Exam. Teachers will not need to cover every possible example related to a particular concept. Instead, the course materials will provide clear guidance as to what course content is the most appropriate for teaching the core concepts, thus providing educators with more flexibility to share what excites them and to take advantage of local resources and phenomena. Courses will be organized around "big ideas" through which students can see the meaning of the material in its current context as well as through its connection to previously learned information. Within each big idea, the subject's concepts, learning objectives and science practices are detailed.

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