If you are in high school and planning your class schedule, it might be helpful to you to know about future changes in the works for AP.
AP courses are designed to help students score at least a 3 out of 5 on the AP tests to get college credit. Today about 1.8 million students take over 3.2 million AP tests per year, according to Christopher Drew who writes for The New York Times.
But AP classes have come under criticism, especially AP science classes. For science AP classes, often there are canned labs, overwhelming textbooks, lectures, and too much homework. The reason is there has been an explosion of knowledge in the sciences, especially in biology, and everything is fair game for the test. The name of the game has become cramming, sometimes without the best results. MIT, for example, has stopped taking AP credit for biology, and the University of Texas requires a 4 for credit.
The response has been to begin to overhaul both the curriculum and the tests for AP credits in several subject areas. The revamping will start in the year 2011-2012 with French and German, but the roll out of a new AP biology will be the most awaited. The new AP biology course will come out in school year 2012-13.
Expect to see actual frameworks for curricula, less material or defined material for testing, and more hands-on labs and projects. Other tests that will be remade are physics, chemistry, European history, world history, and art history, but will be later down the road in 2014 and 2015. To see more details about the changes visit Mr. Drew’s article.
How this might affect you is instead of taking AP biology right away, why not wait until 2012-13? Thinking skills will be emphasized, less material with be covered and what material that is covered will be covered in more depth, colleges will be more interested in the results, and likely your score will be higher. The mean score on AP biology has dropped from 3.18 to 2.63 in the last few years because the present AP course design can not cover all the material adequately.
Think about your class scheduling over the next couple years.