Into My Classroom

Fourth Year Biology Teacher Sharing My Musings With The World

Archive for the ‘AP Environmental Science’ Category

AP Results – The First Year

leave a comment »

The scores came in this week and I have to admit that I am very disheartened.  You see, I don’t accept what people tell me as fact.  Things I heard prior to teaching AP is:

  • You can expect all 1’s in your first year.
  • Teaching AP Bio and APES together for the first time is insane.
  • “Our” children do not know how to read well, therefore making them not AP material.

…and many more.

When people told me such things I would register it, but would not believe it.  I continued to teach both classes and survived.  My APES class kept up with the reading better than I did.  And I did end up with one score of 2.

I’m a little upset because I KNEW my APES (AP Environmental Science) class would do much better than they did.  We had great class discussions, they kept up with the reading, they learned from one another, completed numerous PBLs, and much more.

I had both my AP Bio and APES classes come in on a Saturday to take a practice test similar testing conditions and the APES class had many students score 2 and 3 and one student was a point or so away from a 4!

My heart broke when I saw that out of that class only one student received a 2 (the same that almost made a 4 on her practice test).  They could have and should have performed much better.

After discussing my scores with colleagues, I have determined the following action plan for next year…

  • Start Friday FRQs earlier in the school year and have them count as tests from the start.
  • Separate class and lab to focus more on inquiry skills and content application.  This will require me breaking the labs into smaller components, but that’s okay with me.
  • More frequent quizzes during the week to ensure material is learned.
  • Building small successes by tiered quizzes.  I will start with level 1 quizzes and build over time for each unit.
  • Tests (besides FRQs and Quizzes) will be few and more dense in content.  I’m hoping this will help to build student stamina for a long test such as AP.  (I will turn into Dr. Shear, Microbiology professor from Southern Miss.  His exams were literally 3 hours long!  Mine won’t be so bad, but they will take up the entire class and lab period.)
  • More lab exams – with students demonstrating understanding of a lab procedure and concepts by walking me through an experiment.
  • More Saturday sessions and practice tests.

I really want the students to be successful but I don’t want to discourage them at the same time.  I was hard enough recruiting for my classes because science is “too hard”.  I want my students to have a true collegial experience, with extra help and guidance from me.  I hope I can reach this balance and that my students score high enough next year to gain college credit.

Written by Ashley Erin

July 8, 2011 at 4:40 pm