How to Teach AP Effectively

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Soccer Dad, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. Soccer Dad

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    Aug 4, 2011

    This year, I will be teaching AP European History. While I've taught AP U.S., AP World, AP Gov & Politics, and even AP Microeconomics in the past, my main courses have all been Honors level or below for the past decade. Therefore, I am looking for some hints and suggestions.

    I always advocate against teaching to the test, which causes a dilemma here. At my school, we cover European history in 10th grade. Therefore, my AP kids need to know Greece, Rome, Byz & Iz (Byzantine Empire & Islamic Development), and Medieval Europe to meet NYS' requirements. However, the AP course begins at 1450 A.D. I begin school in September so I do not have that much time at all. How can I reconcile these constraints? I prefer to teach chronologically, but have been toying with the idea of giving a basic overview of Europe prior to 1300 A.D. and starting the course at the Late Middle Ages then progressing forward until the AP Exam. After the exam, I would then go back and teach Europe before 1300 in greater detail. My worries, however, are that I'm doing my students a disservice by teaching them the content out of order. On the other hand, it worries me even more so that they could end up taking the exam without having reached the Cold War in the curriculum.

    Secondly, I have developed what I hope are good strategies to drive home the content:
    - Divide up the chapters into sections with questions of my creation; assign sections for homework, spot check the next day (or 2 days) later, but grade at the end of the unit based on accuracy
    - Give note packets that help organize the content (basically, headings with little bullets underneath to help keep not only the students on track, but me as well); these packets will then be quizzed every Friday (or applicable day)
    - Provide "Quick List" vocab sheets (basically, the buzz words students need to know for ::shudder:: the test) --> quiz when possible
    - Collect homework packets two days before test, grade and return; use the day before the test to answer any HW packet questions; then test the next day
    - Assign essays regularly (at least one in class and one at home per month with the exceptions of December, March, April, May and June)
    - Assign projects; Socratic Seminars; debates; etc. often

    I worry, a lot, about details. With my Honors kids, I have time to go in detail and I do quite frequently. However, I am having a hard time differentiating between what's necessary and what's not.

    Any advice from other teachers--AP or not--is greatly appreciated!
     
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  3. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    I think your idea makes sense. Teach early medieval to modern, then go back and teach ancient. The ancient world is so different from our own that I think it feels pretty alien even when taught in chronological order.

    I appreciate that you don't want to teach to the test, but in my classes multiple-choice drill was very important to success on the AP exam. Perhaps that's built in to your unit tests?
     
  4. kme93

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    I haven't taught AP (or history!), but thinking from a student perspective I think your plans sound fine.

    I would also recommend spending about 10 minutes one day on test taking strategies (how to narrow down answers, etc). I think it could be a helpful reminder for some kids. Since it's AP, you could probably just make a handout and suggest they look at it at home or something.
     
  5. Ron6103

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    I am teaching AP Euro again this year, but from a next textbook series (McKay - A history of western society). Thus, I'm revamping a lot of what I'm doing. I struggle with many of the same questions you had.

    I had a lot of trouble over the last few years getting the kids to read regularly, so I like your idea of splitting the chapters into sections, and assigning questions. How often do you plan to assign a section? Nightly? How many questions are you thinking of using per section?

    I'm also toying with the idea of online reading quizzes. I know they will likely take the quizzes with the book in front of them, but that's okay with me, since it's just a method of ensuring reading compliance and comprehension. Has anyone tried this with success?

    As for timeframe, I start in the late medieval period, and work my way to the modern world. We have a separate course in our building called Ancient History, which all AP students have already taken (Ancient is a freshman level course). Thus, I can't help you there. But I will say that I have a hard time fitting in all material for the exam into the year as is. Therefore, I can't imagine ALSO trying to squeeze in Ancient topics as well. Yikes.
     
  6. KatherineParr

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    SoccerDad, are you on the AP Euro listserv? I don't know how good it was ten years ago, but these days the listservs are quite active and they are archived on the ETS site (granted, that site is impossible to navigate).

    I bet they could help you with any changes ETS has made to the test recently, and there are usually great online resources, too.
     
  7. Soccer Dad

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    Thanks for the responses guys. I was supposed to teach the course 2 years ago so I joined the listserve then but due to budget constraints, we're just now able to actually offer the course.

    My unit tests will, ideally, be 80 M.C. questions and 1 essay (the in class essay part I mentioned). All tests will be 2 days--I do that in all of my classes.

    I'm worried about homework. I feel as though I might be over-assigning and I definitely feel I'm going to go too far into detail.

    Does anyone have a list of the sources they plan to use?
     
  8. Soccer Dad

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    Ron, so far I've made up a homework list for my first unit--the Late Middle Ages. I could send you it to show you how I plan on doing sectional homework. I have, so far, been able to break most chapters up into 3 sections which would take a week and one weekend to cover for me so far (except the Renaissance, that will take over a week).
     
  9. Brendan

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    I would start with Medieval History as a background, cover all course content before the AP exam and then backtrack to cover the earlier material if I was you. Especially your first year you are going to be very strapped for time.

    I assign the reading by section as well. I have a syllabus and I have them reading 3-6 pages a Night. In Euro, this translates into a Chapter per week. I give a quiz every Friday on the Chapter we covered that week. I also collect the homework for the Chapter on Friday. I give pretty big homework assignments they include reading questions, terms to define, and some type of mini project/essay. The trade-off is that I don't assign reading quizzes every single day or every two days like the other AP teacher does. He gives a 15-20 multiple choice quiz (AP style) as a reading quiz before he covers the material in class. I think that's unreasonable, not even in college do professors expect the students to have mastery over a whole chapter when they haven't covered the topic in class. My students wine that I give a lot of written homework. However, I tell them the alternative is difficult multiple choice reading quizzes. They chose the homework.

    Be careful about using two days for each exam, you are going to kill a lot of class time. I usually give Exams with 35 or 40 multiple choice and one essay for our 70 minute periods. We do the essay first and I time them. Then I handout the multiple choice. I hate, hate, hate giving all multiple choice as my objective tests. I would much prefer to do a mix of identifications, short answers, etc. but I do realize the need to have multiple choice with the AP exam.

    At the end of each term I give a 3-day final: day 1) 80 m/c day 2) two essays and day 3) DBQ. It's worth 20% of their term grade and is a great practice for the AP exam. In the Spring I also try and do two full exams on a Saturday for practice.

    In terms of essays and projects, I incorporate mini-projects as homework and activities whenever possible. Simulations and in-class projects which are larger must be kept short 2 or 3 days MAX. In terms of writing, I don't assign AP style essays outside of class. I feel that the best way to learn the AP style of writing is in-class while being timed like on the Exam. I, do, however assign one major paper per trimester to be completed outside of class. I don't really assign any Major Projects until the year has ended. After the exam is over, the final exam grade for their class is actually a project.

    I struggle with how to lecture my AP Students as well. I realize that this is a college level class, so I have been trying to give college-style lectures. In the beginning I give them an outline like you mentioned, so they know how to structure their note-taking. I eventually take off the training wheels though. I do use multimedia and discussion in my lessons, but I don't display the notes in written form as a PowerPoint like I do for my freshman.
     
  10. HistTchr

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    Aug 5, 2011

    Hi,
    I have taught AP Euro for several years. I think the ideas you list are great. One thing that I have learned in teaching this course is that there is NEVER enough time to cover everything that can ultimately appear on the exam. When I look at each unit, I try to think of the major understandings that are essential for students to know in order to really understand the period, and then create my lessons from there.

    I give my students an assignment calendar at the beginning of every unit with the reading schedule and assignment due dates. Students have readings to do every night and need to take notes, which I check for completion the following day. Additionally, students need to highlight/annotate any sources that I assign to supplement the textbook readings. At the beginning of each class, I usually review the major themes from the previous night's reading. I often have a PowerPoint presentation with this information and accompanying visuals that we discuss. I really try to focus most lessons around discussion of primary sources that illustrate the main concepts under study. (Sometimes this is done whole-class and sometimes in small groups, depending on the text.)

    I begin the course with a brief unit reviewing the late Middle Ages, but this only takes a couple of days so students have a basis of comparison when we study the Renaissance. At the end of the year, I do some current events projects as well as show some historical films that students must analyze for historical accuracy.

    I would definitely recommend joining the AP Euro listserv, which you're able to do from the College Board website. From there, look up the directions for joining the AP Wiggio, too, which includes TONS of course-related assignments and projects that teachers have chosen to share with each other. There is a folder for every unit, so that should be very helpful for someone new teaching the course.

    I hope this helps! Please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.

    Joe
     
  11. HistTchr

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    Brendan,
    Good point about teaching note-taking skills. I do use PowerPoint in my class just about every day, but I try to include only brief "talking points" that students need to expand upon in their notes by listening to my lecture. My primary use of PowerPoint is to display pictures and maps to accompany whatever I'm talking about. Sometimes I throw in some special effects to help students remember key points, too.
     
  12. Brendan

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    I wouldn't bother with teaching how to take notes on a text. Let's be honest now, we all went to college, and many of us were history majors. I know when I was taking all History and Government courses during Undergrad I was assigned between 400-700 pages of reading per week. While, I read most of the time (well not all I wasn't perfect) I never had the time to take notes on all my readings. If they did they would never get done. I'm a much bigger advocator of teaching students how to annotate a text. I know it's hard to teach because our students don't own their textbooks, but I highly encourage it if at all possible. Even if you can just use articles and other printouts. Annotating is a great way to "interact" as you read, so you are prepared for the lecture and discussion on the material. It also makes discussion much easier for our students, they can see exactly what they saw as important or interesting just based upon what they annotated.
     
  13. 4capulina

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    Aug 6, 2011

    This thread is gr8. So much to learn. :)
     
  14. INteacher

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    I believe one of the most effective things I do in class happpens in the last five minutes of class. Four days a week, our class ends with some kind of activity that requires my students to "do something" with what we learned in class. Some of these activites are

    *exit tickets - required to write something they learned today and how it relates to our unit or the bigger picture
    *survey worksheet ~ students are given a serious of statements, and they must strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, strongly agree and explain their position
    *quick acrostics with a partner for major topics ~ Enlighened Despot
    *short MC quiz
    *give them an FRQ prompt, they come up with thesis and three supporting items
    *they are given a topic and they write at least three FRQ prompts
    *word response ~ kind of like therapy, I say a word and they write the first word or phrase they think of

    and I just found a new one to use this summer from the Wiggo site someone else mention ~ bingo. There is a reformation bingo on the site and students have 5 minutes to complete the bingo. The questions are very basic knowledge questions but that seems to be the issue, you can't get students to analyze if they don't know the facts.

    All these activites are graded and since we do them daily, it does have an impact on their grade. It doesn't take long to grade and I know it has made my students more responsible in their nightly readings.
     
  15. HistTchr

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    I love all of these ideas, INteacher! Do you grade these activities, or are they just for you to see what the students took away from the lesson?
     
  16. Soccer Dad

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    Aug 11, 2011

    How often do you guys test? I'm trying to schedule my lessons now and tests eat up a huge bulk of time. (This is, however, because I like to test frequently.) How about quizzes?
     
  17. KatherineParr

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    SoccerDad, I test twice per trimester (usually 12-14 weeks except spring, but of course in Spring testing is weird b/c at my school students who take the AP don't have to take the final in spring). I give a midterm and a final. Partly, this is to make room for other assignments and partly it's because I take AP at their word that they want the class to mimic college. Yes, I know this is hilariously naive. Still.

    I give pope quizzes at least 5 times per trimester, but sometimes more.*

    There are lots of other grades related to mastery or to reinforcement, just not in the form of quizzes or tests. So if you would consider an in-class, graded, FRQ a quiz, I give those every 2 weeks. I also do graded, in-class MC drill. In that case, though, it's rigged to make it easier to score high so as to encourage optimism and risk-taking.

    I feel your pain about class time. It seems as though there's SO MUCH to teach and never enough time.

    *ETA: "pope" quizzes. Ha. Those are usually focused on ecclesiastical themes, of course.
     
  18. waterfall

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    I understand you don't want to teach to the test, but as a student if I hadn't gotten information that was relevant to the test before I took it, I'd be upset. Remember these tests are expensive for students and they're hoping to get college credits (an extremely valuable thing) out of them. I took AP History, Gov. English, and Spanish in high school. A lot of my teachers did "teach to the test." It might not have been the most interesting class, but I got a 4 on every exam which was the end goal. With all the college credits I got, I was able to complete two majors and a minor in 4 years when I got to college, and I believe my marketability from that is the only reason I got a full time teaching job right out of school. I think that's an easy trade for learning some things out of chronological order.
     
  19. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Aug 11, 2011

    I took almost all AP classes my senior year of high school... I only took 2 of the tests, though, and got credit for one of them (Stats).

    Let me tell you how NOT to teach an AP class, courtesy of my AP English. Before I start the story, a tiny bit of background... AP and Honors grades were weighted (5 pts for A instead of 4, etc.). Second semester seniors could be exempt from finals if they earned at least a B both 3rd and 4th quarters.

    OK, so knowing THAT...

    We come into AP English the first day of second semester and our teacher asks us to give him a show of hands on how many of us were only there to get our B and pass the AP exam. Pretty much every hand in the room went up. So he tells us that he'll make us a deal. He will guarantee everyone at least a B as long as we tried our best on the AP practice tests, kept up with the assigned reading from whatever novels we were working on, and meaningfully participated in class discussions. If we did those things and earned an A, he'd be happy to give it to us, otherwise, he'd guarantee the B.

    This sounded like a fair deal. We finished reading and working through whatever novel we weren't enjoying at the time. We did AP practice exams on Mondays. Once we finished the novel, and once APs were done, we watched old movies the rest of the year. A few of them were adaptations of King Leer, which we'd read earlier in the year. That was loosely connected to the curriculum. No problem... but then we watched other classic movies, like Rear Window and Bringing Home Baby.

    I have no idea how he got away with it... this wasn't like a lit and film class or something. But anyway, that's how NOT to teach an AP class.
     
  20. KatherineParr

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    Aug 12, 2011

    Clarnet, I'm confused a little. Do you mean you watched movies after you took the exam?
     
  21. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Katherine, we watched them for the last month or so after the AP was over, but we ALSO watched movies before the exam, too. We pretty much spent the entire of 4th quarter watching movies. They were good, but didn't exactly teach the material...
     
  22. KatherineParr

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    Oh, ok. I have some bad news.

    It's actually a *very* common practice to show movies after the AP exam. If you read the AP listservs, you'll find that having a "film festival" is probably in the top 3 things teachers do after the exam. I do a week on film, but also a week on food (we eat MRE's and talk about food traditions in their families) and a week on historians who got in trouble for dishonesty (of various forms).

    So the bad news is: that's a really, really common thing after AP exams. The logic is that students have worked hard all year and given their best on the exam. They will not work anymore and they deserve a break.

    It's also pretty common to say to students: I'll ensure you succeed if you'll give me your effort. So the A/B promise is commonplace, too.

    I don't promise any grade and I only show movies very, very late in the year (when they are decent, like Frontier House and Eyes on the Prize). But it's very interesting to hear how much you disliked those methods and how strongly you feel, even now.
     
  23. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    I don't actually have a problem with them AFTER the exam. It's a nice break. But it was more than just after the exam, it was a good part of the entire semester.

    I liked a good movie as much as the next girl, but I think it FED the senioritis that many of us were trying not to have.
     
  24. KatherineParr

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    Yes, there are folks who just show movies ALL THE TIME. It gets super tedious.

    And, honestly, don't they get tired of it? I mean, you sit there watching the same movie all day. When I'm sick or it's a great movie, that's one thing. But to watch movie after movie just makes my head hurt.
     
  25. MissCeliaB

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    As someone who teaches film studies, where we are supposed to spend a good deal of time watching movies, it is miserable watching movies six times in one week. Especially the long ones that take more than an hour to finish.
     
  26. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    I agree! I teach the same classes as the person across the hall from me. We have a running joke whenever we show a movie or video of some sort, because we can tell exactly where the other class is by the background music that's playing. You get tired of seeing/hearing the same thing over and over again!
     
  27. KatherineParr

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    So, MissCelia, do you ever teach a movie *because* it's bad? Or is that just too, too painful?

    I share a wall with our (amazing, wonderful) academic support counselor. So not only do *I* get to sit through those movies, she does, too! Joy.
     
  28. waterfall

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    I never had an AP teacher that showed us a single movie. We worked right up until the end of the year, and it was just as tough as the stuff we did before the test. If I'm remembering correctly, the tests were pretty much right at the end of the year anyway. We probably had a few weeks left, but then we'd have to take the final exam for the class itself so we'd be studying for that.
     
  29. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    I do show some movies after the AP exam, but students need to write papers analyzing them in relation to their historical accuracy/significance. I also do some long-term projects after the exam, so we don't just have a movie party for the last month of school. Students are getting three credits for my course from a local university (it's a concurrent enrollment partnership), so I need to keep the learning going until the day of the final exam.
     
  30. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Aug 13, 2011

    For my kids after the AP exam is time to relax. We've worked since the summer and we are all tired. I show a few movies and they complete projects based on the movies. I also go back and spend some time on the cool contemporary topics which I don't have the time to do a full overview on during the regular year. The AP final exam is not a written exam, but a project instead.
     
  31. Ron6103

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    I too do a final project after the AP exam. The kids are welcome to choose any topic from the entire span of European History, and compose a research paper and presentation to give to the class. The presentations are then given on the actual final exam day (which is a double-period anyway). It works out nicely. I don't give them an actual final exam, as the AP exam essentially serves that purpose. The final presentation/paper serves as the final exam grade in my gradebook.
     
  32. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Aug 13, 2011

    See, you people know how to run a good AP class ;)

    Sorry to hijack from the OP!
     
  33. Soccer Dad

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    Aug 13, 2011

    Here's another brain teaser: do you actually teach the class LIKE a college class or do you teach it like a high school honors class with greater expectations?

    From what I've seen and what I've experienced, it's not necessarily a college class but a class that has the same level of difficulty. In college, in-class projects are nonexistent, grades are curved and limited to 4-6 assignments/tests, and homework isn't collected.

    How do you incorporate the reality of college courses but maintain the assignments we high school teachers all love?
     
  34. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    I admit, I don't teach it like a college course. I don't think I can... my students aren't really prepared for that. Many of them, even the top tier, still blow off assignments or reading from time to time. Thus, I assign quite a bit of work that is regularly checked to ensure they stay on top of things. In a college course, I certainly wouldn't do that.

    I think what I do is very much a mix. The reading and essays are college level, as are the primary source assignments. The worksheets and guiding questions that go along with all that, are high school level. During class itself, most days of the week operate more like a college class, with lecture and discussion. But occasionally a more high school style activity day will occur too. I do a heavy mix it seems...
     
  35. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    Ron,
    Your class sounds very much like mine. I check homework regularly (even though it doesn't count for many points) just so students know they are held accountable for all of the work I assign on the homework calendar. Day to day instruction is similar to what you describe--a mix of lecture and discussion.

    I usually do two projects during the school year. I have students read Candide, by Voltaire, when we study the Enlightenment. They have to find quotes that relate to Enlightenment ideas, answer reading questions, participate in a Socratic seminar, and write a follow-up essay. When we are studying the 19th century, students are each assigned to a thinker, artist, musician, etc. from that period, and they have to create a presentation illustrating how that individual's work reflected the changing societal beliefs of the period. Last year I actually had them create screencasts instead of live presentations. I'm not sure if I would have time to do these projects if I was teaching the course in college, but they definitely were at college-level in terms of rigor.
     
  36. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Aug 13, 2011

    My high school classes are slightly different from my college courses.

    For one thing, I collaborate with another teacher (AP Lang) so I do some thing's I'd never do in college. We are doing a joint research paper this year, for example.

    I also offer students more extra credit and give them more advice about how to take notes, how to study, etc.

    But beyond that I run things almost exactly like my college classes. I feel confident that this is true because I'm using the same syllabus I used for the 5 years I taught college.

    Is it more detailed? Yes. For my college courses I saw my students either twice weekly for 1.25 hours at a time or three times weekly for 50 minutes. The occasional seminar met weekly for 3 hours. These days I get to see my students 4 or 5 times a week (we're on a modified block schedule). So I detail our plans a little more. That means that a week used to name the 2 or 3 lectures but now it also says: "Discussion of essay" or "Debate."

    I don't make lesson plans and I don't do activities of the type many other teachers do. I don't write goals or weekly Essential Questions on the board (though I might do that in future because we're working on UbD).

    It's true that students miss assignments, but that happens in college, too. College students are the same people they were at 17, just a little older. So I treat it the same: no credit. If it's late, 10% off per day. Those rules are exactly the same as for my college students, and my high school students do fine.

    The AP curriculum mirrors the narrative as I taught it in the three schools where I've been in the classroom (two as a faculty member and one as a TA, two large universities and one private liberal arts college). But even AP must realize that high school students' experience differs - sometimes slightly and sometimes profoundly - from the college classroom.

    Of course, the thing that makes all this kind of hard to quantify is that every college classroom is different. When I was a graduate student, one professor allowed undergrads in his survey course to do a final project. Some did interpretive dance (!). Another one made the Duomo out of macaroni. Seriously - in college! So the "college experience" or "college course" can be project-based, or not. It can be lecture-based, or not.
     
  37. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Aug 13, 2011

    IMO, my high school AP classes were A LOT harder than my freshman gen ed requirement college classes. I can honestly say I worked 10x harder my junior-senior year of HS than I did my freshman year of college when I was finishing my non-major requirements.
     
  38. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Aug 13, 2011

    Honestly, Waterfall, I taught Gen Ed and student who showed up and did a little work earned B's or better. Many Gen Ed classes are structured to function that way.

    But you'd be *amazed* at the number of students who fail Gen Eds because they just sleep all day. Some folks are really, truly not ready for college emotionally.
     
  39. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Aug 14, 2011

    I am trying to be more cognizant that AP courses are really college level and thus I am trying to teach them in a more college level way. I teach college History courses part-time and have taken many college history courses during my time spent getting a BA, MAT, and PhD in History and I know my HS courses are not really like a College Course at all.

    College courses at the college level are all lecture and discussion. Even seminars are simply just less lecture and more discussion. Depending on the professor amount of lecture and discussion varies, as does the format. Some professors lecture more, others discuss more. Some use PowerPoint, other's just talk. Some give students a starting point to take notes on (like a printout of the PowerPoint) and others would laugh at the idea.

    In terms of homework, I have never once taken a college level history course that assigned written work to be done with nightly reading assignments. Sure, some courses have reaction papers (though this is usually not to a primary text, but a secondary or primary source), but the questions, terms, and mini-projects I assign as text homework are not the norm in college. College history courses are pretty much the same when it comes to homework. There is reading that needs to be done for each class, sometimes a reaction paper, working on research/term papers, and studying for exams.

    This brings me to assessment. I know I give a variety of grades: homework, classwork, projects, tests, quizzes, exams, participation, activities, discussions, etc. In college this simply is not the case. While I did have a handful of professors who gave some type of daily work grade (like a reading quiz or reading reaction paper), most did not. All of my professors graded on participation and it was at least 10% of the course grade. The grades for most of my classes was based upon: a midterm, final, participation, and then usually 2-3 papers/presentations. That's it.

    Now getting further into assessment, I have never taken a multiple choice test for any of my history courses. Neither have either of my sons who studied history in college. All the tests were essay, short answer (long short answer), and identifications. Some professors gave us a list of possible terms and questions and others did not. I think the AP essay questions are great mirrors of college level tests, but the multiple choice that all of us are forced to do, is not really a college level history test. I know that I have never given a multiple choice test to my college students nor I have ever received one as a student in a college level history course.

    I'm not saying we should completely change AP courses to be like college classes, just that they are very, very different from each other.
     
  40. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Brendan, I agree so much with your point about MC questions.

    Not only are they extremely rare in college courses, but everyone I know would seriously question the preparation and approach of a professor who used them. The AP's reliance on MC questions is a glaring hole in their claim to have created a college course.
     
  41. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    Aug 17, 2011

    I hate MC questions but view them as a necessary evil. Here's another question: writing. I'm known for giving a lot of writing assignments. With my Honors kids, they usually have an essay every 2 weeks (bi-monthly essays I call 'em), a journal entry due every Friday, and little assignments in between. In terms of AP, would it be asking too much to have them do FRQ for HW on weekends where they have to outline what they would write in say 2-3 paragraphs (one side of paper)? Also, is it too much to have them write an essay in class every other week and one at home?

    I've always felt that while it's important to know history, it's even more important to communicate it well. Writing is a skill everyone could use more practice with. However, I do not want to forget the golden rule that my class isn't their only class nor is it the only commitment in their lives.
     

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